Video by Tom Compagnoni
It's confronting to hear a child talk about self harm and suicide, particularly when they're talking about the pain caused by some of the nation's leaders.
But confrontation -- and empathy -- is the point behind Political Children, a play constructed from the public statements of politicians and centering on the emotional cost of the upheaval caused by the devolution of the Safe Schools program last year.
The play, written and directed by Felicity Nicol and produced by The Inner West Youth Theatre, points a magnifying glass on the politics of safe schools, the policy and why there was uproar.
A sense of confrontation and empathy from the audience are what Nicol and her young cast, aged 12 to 20, want to draw out.
"And a little bit of shock. Not shock value, but rather shock that this is happening here in Australia in 2017 in cities, in country areas," Nicol told the Huffington Post Australia.
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"(Society) said we don't care, we're not interested in supporting young people."
It also came from the idea of putting politicians words on trial, by putting them in the mouths of young people.Felicity Nicol
For months the play has been rehearsed in Ashfield Council Chambers.
Elodie Jakes, one of the actors in the in play, said she was drawn to Political Children because it was an opportunity for the 15-year-old to have her voice heard on the Safe Schools issue.
"I think whenever there's an opportunity for me or anyone who doesn't usually get a voice to talk about something they don't get to talk about, like politics, that's such an amazing opportunity," she said.
"I've done it because it's so exciting to not only be able to share my own voice, but be able to represent this whole generation which is almost silent in media and particularly in politics."
In late January the play was accepted as a late addition to the Mardi Gras Festival.
The play will be performed from March 1 to March 3 at the Australian Theatre For Young People, Pier 4/5 Hickson Road, Walsh Bay.If you need help in a crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For further information about depression contact beyondblue on 1300224636 or talk to your GP, local health professional or someone you trust.
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