Cowra script-writer, actor, director and mother Lusi Austin is nearly half-way to her goal of raising $10,000 to present her play Intertwined as part of Cowra's 80th commemoration of the Breakout.
(min cost $8)
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Ms Austin is raising the money through Kickstarter and won't receive any of the funds if she does not reach the $10,000 target.
She explained on social media that "to come back and do this venture back into the world of script-writing, acting and directing is huge for me".
Ms Austin's Kickstarter can be found HERE.
"The story of Intertwined is the lives of three people who come together in Cowra," Ms Austin explains.
"They have Cowra in common. One is an Australian soldier, one is an Aboriginal man and one is a teen girl.
"The play explores all the themes around the Cowra Breakout. We're talking about conflict, peace and all of those things we know about the Breakout. But it also touches on what was happening to our First Nations people here at Erambie Mission at the same time.
"Contemporary, historical and ancient cultures collide in this exploration of commonalities, differences and enduring lessons of life with the backdrop of The Second World War."
Ms Austin wrote the script after countless hours of research and using first hand accounts recorded by Professor Peter Read, author of Down There With Me on the Cowra Mission written in 1979.
Her Kickstarter deadline is Tuesday, May 9 at 3.29pm. There are rewards for those who pledge to her cause. The rewards are listed on Ms Austin's Kickstarter page.
"Some people have said it is so good you've already raised $4526. I have to explain to them that unless we hit the $10,000 goal, which is the full goal for Intertwined, I don't receive any money for this," Ms Austin said.
The $10,000 will be used to pay venue hire, pay the actors according to the proper industry rates, produce sets prop acquisition and print programs.
"The money doesn't come out of your account unless we get that $10,000," Ms Austin said.
Ms Austin, who has performed at the Sydney Opera House and already written a picture book about the Cowra Breakout, wrote Interwined "to keep the story about the Breakout alive".
"We know that on the night of the Breakout it ended in much death and sorrow. But in the aftermath many of the townspeople came together in their respectful treatment of the Japanese.
"This story of reconciliation needs to be told to and understood by a younger generation. It needs to be told in a way that they can receive it well.
"The play tells the story of a teen girl dealing with grief and the loss of her mother who has been bought to Cowra to learn more about the Cowra Breakout.
"The next person on stage is an Australian solider and he recalls what it was like to supervise the Japanese soldiers in the camp. He also remembers what happened on the night of the Breakout.
"And lastly, the third character on stage is an Aboriginal man who's family lived in Cowra at Erambie mission at the time of the Breakout."
Ms Austin said life on the Mission at the time "is the one thing that we haven't explored much before, what life was like for our First Nations people during the time of the Cowra Breakout"
"In Intertwined contemporary, historical and ancient cultures collide in an exploration of commonalities and differences. This unfolds against the backdrop of the second world war.
"We ask the question through the play, can the example given to us in the Australia Japanese relationship inspire future generations and can we actually acknowledge past hurts to our Indigenous community to help us move forward in a way that promotes peace and unity in our community."
The play, she said, "uses first hand accounts, musical interludes and visual displays to raise questions rather than assign blame and point figures".
Ms Austin hopes the play will be performed in July, 2024 as an anchor point for the 80th anniversary commemorations of the POW Breakout.
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