Nominated for a 2007 Helpmann Award
Dramatised from the real life stories of ex-inmates of the Girls Training School (GTS), Parramatta, Alana Valentines history-making play exposes in moving detail the experience of young Australian women at this notorious inner-west punitive institution. Operating since 1887 as a home for abandoned, at risk, and criminal girls under the age of 18, it was renamed GTS in 1947 and did not close until 1974. During those years, interviewees have told stories of thousands of women being brutalised, drugged, and confined in solitary for more than a week at a time. It is a sobering, compelling and frequently harrowing tale. Yet the pain and grief that these women speak of is more than swamped by the intensity of the love and trust and support that they offer each other. Suffering is not dwelt on, rather humour and tenderness and astonishing courage radiates from the characters on stage.
Most incredibly, this is a story of indigenous and non-indigenous women coming together in strength and pride to tell their common story, their common history of Australias incarceration of uncontrollable girls. Burning with the fury of those who have never been believed, aching with the comedy of those who have survived the worst that life can throw at them, this is a night of theatre that goes to the heart and soul of being alive.
Valentine uses her source material respectfully but freely, creating composite characters and fictional scenes…..this (is an) exceptional piece of healing – and unexpectedly humorous – theatre.– Jason Blake, The Sun Herald