If you love live theatre make sure you put two bold performances, The Hen House and Personal, on your must-see list as part of the cultural extravaganza Emerge Festival…

Chatswood is currently abuzz with culture and community spirit as it hosts the North Shore’s largest annual festival, Emerge from September 2 to October 9. This year promises an engaging program of arts, culture, music and entertainment, but there are two live performances that are poised to steal the spotlight. Personal and The Hen House are both directed and performed by a powerhouse female-led team.

Now’s the time to support great acts like this if you love having live theatre on your doorstep, so grab some tickets for you and your friends and family, and make a night of it with dinner at one of the brilliant nearby restaurants…


Image: Bryony Jackson

It wasn’t until Jodee Mundy was five years old and lost at Kmart that she realised the rest of her family was Deaf. She didn’t see ‘disability’ – only the love and protection of those closest to her. In Personal, she conveys her experience as the only hearing person in a Deaf family, through a captivating blend of performance, storytelling, multimedia and animation. Mundy delves into the contradictions of inhabiting two worlds: living in a Deaf family, where using sign language is natural; and living in a society that sees only the family’s disability with voyeuristic curiosity.

With a powerful emphasis on inclusivity, Personal showcases the synergy of different languages, seamlessly integrating both English and Auslan via a virtual interpreter. 

Writer and performer Jodee Mundy OAM says, “Auslan is my native language and English is my second. As someone who grew up in a culturally and linguistically diverse community who is also perceived as having a disability, there’s a lot of power and currency in being able to speak more than there is in being able to sign. This baffles me as to why sign is seen as an alternative or less than speaking because our human potential is so huge when people can utilise all the ways we can communicate.”

Audiences who hear and those who are Deaf can share in this touching performance that navigates the intersection of different worlds, cultures and identities. 

Personal is supported by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body, the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria, and the NSW Government through Create NSW.

When: Friday, 6 October, 7.30-8.30pm

Where: The Concourse Theatre, Chatswood

Price: $33-$39

Tickets: https://aucentury.sales.ticketsearch.com/sales/salesevent/110805

The Hen House

Image: Anna Kucera

This riveting new music theatre work, a collaboration between The Presenter, PYT Fairfield and In Wild Company, tells the remarkable, humorous and tragic stories of European-Australian female migrant workers in a chicken factory. Brought to life in an 80-minute rock concert spectacle, the production boasts live music by two formidable female leads who pay homage to the resilience of these women who sought a better life in the ’60s and ’70s.

Dynamic sister-duo Josipa Draisma and Mara Knežević are the creative forces behind the production and weave their own family histories into the play. 

“The inspiration for this show came from our grandmother Bernarda Papić,” Knežević says. “Bernada arrived in Australia in 1967 and landed a job at Ingham’s Chicken factory in Casula in her first week. Like many others, she came to Australia seeking a better life for her family. She went on to work at Ingham’s for nearly 40 years.”

Image: by Anna Kucera

The Hen House is directed by Anthea Williams (Hir, Sydney Theatre Awards Best Director), with musical direction by Zeljko Papic. 

This production contains strobe lighting, smoke haze, coarse language and is suitable for ages: 14+ No chickens were harmed in the making of this theatre piece.

When: Friday, 22 September, 7-8.30pm

Where: The Concourse Pavilion, Chatswood

Price: $23-$39

Tickets: https://aucentury.sales.ticketsearch.com/sales/salesevent/111414


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