Innovative domestic violence play

Playwright Rod Ainsworth and volunteer interviewer Ross Peddlesden are combining their skills to research material for the DV Theatre Project.
Playwright Rod Ainsworth and volunteer interviewer Ross Peddlesden are combining their skills to research material for the DV Theatre Project. Max Fleet

A RAW and honest account of the lives affected by domestic violence will soon be brought to the stage, using interviews with both victims and perpetrators to form the script.

Produced and written by Bundaberg playwright Rod Ainsworth, the domestic violence "verbatim theatre" project was announced at the White Ribbon Day breakfast held in the city yesterday.

Mr Ainsworth said he hoped to do 15 interviews with both victims and perpetrators to bring issues from both sides of the relationship to light.

"It's been fascinating so far," he said.

"The people we've interviewed have been very generous."

Each interview will be conducted by volunteer Ross Peddlesden and will be transcribed by Mr Ainsworth down to the last "um" and "ah".

"Both sides of the equation have been very difficult," Mr Ainsworth said.

"There's a whole bunch of emotional issues around both sides."

Mr Ainsworth said he would put a call out for auditions next year and hoped to do a public reading of the script around White Ribbon Day next year.

He hopes the finished project will be used as a domestic violence "awareness tool".

"All this does is get something fairly taboo out in the public," he said.

"If that starts some conversation, then great, we've done our bit."

Mr Peddlesden said preparation was a key part to the interviewing process.

"It's important to listen very carefully and be sensitive to what is upsetting," he said.

"You have to be really willing to take people into areas they're not comfortable about. That's the balance."

Mr Peddlesden said it was also important to talk to people about the particular relationship when it was good.

"I think it's important that you get the full picture of how the relationship changed," he said.

Interviewing perpetrators, Mr Peddlesden says, is quite different.

"You're talking to someone who knows, or should know, they have done something wrong," he said.

"You've still got to be respectful."

The experienced interviewer said there was a "real feeling of satisfaction" in getting these stories heard.

"I think I'm privileged to have people tell me those stories," he said.

The verbatim theatre project is a Bundaberg Regional Council initiative, and will be funded by Arts Queensland and the Australia Council for the Arts.

If anyone would like to share their experience for the project, call 0409 595 704.

Topics:  domestic violence play white ribbon day

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