Friday, 12 August 2011

Look at me!

HILARY SAYS: Here is my new headshot. I think it's the best one I've ever had, to be honest. And it's the kind I can keep using indefinitely, there'll be no worrying about how I'm still using that old photo from twenty-five years ago.

Apart from being relieved to have finally had a good photo taken, I'm ready to talk about a play I've been working on for several years which is about to come to life on stage: 'The White Divers of Broome'.

Commissioned by Black Swan State Theatre Company in Western Australia, it's inspired by an incident that occurred in 1912. The White Australia Policy had bleached the country, all except for one remaining pocket of 'coloured' labour: the pearling industry in Broome. The Government demanded that a group of English divers be brought out to replace the mostly Asian workers. But this posed a huge threat to the pearling masters: white men meant higher wages, better rations, medical insurance, the threat of union action - and accountable deaths. When an Asian diver died, as did 10% every season, "they just hose out the suit and put another bloke in it", no questions asked. The Englishmen's arrival also threatened the Asian workers, who had come from impoverished villages to make a living here. If the White Experiment succeeded, they'd be deported.

If you want to know what happens next, you'll have to see the play (or read John Bailey's excellent historical account, 'The White Divers of Broome'): but suffice to say there is a circling of the wagons and a realignment of allegiances, resulting in some very unlikely bedfellows, as Broome unites to expel the unwitting invaders.

Watch this space for information on the upcoming production...

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