A citizens’ assembly. A series of first speeches from voices often unheard. Personal visions for our collective future.
Fuelled by conservative politicians and media commentators, the darkest side of nationalism has led to the public vilification of immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers, Muslims, First Nations People, and – by extension – anyone considered ‘foreign’ or ‘other’.
Congress, intentionally works against stereotypical representations of the ‘other’ by providing a platform for direct address to the public.It puts faces and names and stories to ‘difference’, subverting dominant narratives of what it means to be living in contemporary society and our hugely inter-connected world.
Congress connects the personal with the political by match making citizens with professional wordsmiths. Ten professional writers and ten community members have been invited to meet to work together to write and deliver the citizen’s own first speech. Together, these couples have created first speeches for those often unheard; public declarations that address personal visions for our collective future.
Taking the form of a ritualised performance, intersected with community and cultural dance, this project unashamedly encourages citizens to agitate for change and transformation.
Presented Wyndham City Council Chambers for City of Wyndham. Saturday 7 September 2019
Creators / Directors Tristan Meecham and Bec Reid
Composer, Lighting and Sound Designer Nick Roux
Production Manager, Lighting Designer: Bosco Shaw
Stage Manager Leo Gester
Audio Description Will McRostie, Description Victoria
Auslan Interpreters Benji Hoopmann and Glenda Judd, Auslan Stage Left
Speakers Hannah Bradsworth, Les Sanderson, Aimee McCartney, Pamela Kennedy, Erum Ali, Damon Paraha, Jack Measham, Jumess Dinanga
Wordsmith Fatima Measham, David Wells, wāni Le Frère, Grace Vanilau, Paola Balla, Eugenia Flynn, Roger Monk and Demet Divaroren
Movers Brent Watkins, Anosha Ali, L2R Dance, Nga Uri Whaioranga, Tama Tatau, Georgette Mofalesi (Afro Fever), Bec Reid and Tristan Meecham
Wyndham City Council Trish Carlon