Ms Sampson’s Expertise Grows 

by Megan Sampson

Earlier this term I was fortunate enough to take on the role of Assistant Director for Sydney Theatre Company’s Production of Stolen by Jane Harrison, Directed by Ian Michael. The play is about the Stolen Generations and was first staged in 1998 following the bringing them home report. It culminates testimonies of those who survived forced removal from their families under government policies into 5 characters who are taken from their families and put in a children’s home. The play is non-linear, experimental with form and creates a nightmarish atmosphere. It explores the brutality of institutionalisation and the enduring love and connection of Aboriginal mothers, fathers and their children. 

Working on the production was emotionally challenging yet creatively inspiring. The stories and context are harrowing, however; the warmth and generosity of the creative team and cast made for a truly special experience. There was a responsibility felt by all to honour this play, our community and the truth telling it represents. Stolen has also been a HSC Drama prescribed text for many years, with our own senior Drama students studying it this year and writing about it for their HSC. It has given me a unique insight that I can share with my students to support their study of it. Year 11 and 12 Drama students came to watch the play this week and their response was heartwarming. They were moved, inspired and took away a deeper understanding of the play and its context. They were also fortunate to hear from Director Ian Michael and the cast of the production on the creative process, staging and personal insights on the play. 

As a teacher, I have always endeavoured to encourage students to explore their passions and challenge themselves creatively and to model this for them. I am grateful to Ms Colnan and my colleagues for their support to do so.  

Rehearsal room photo Prudence Upton

Production photos Daniel Boud