Schwartzkopf, Louise: Theatre for returned soldiers

Schwartzkopf, Louise

Theatre as a healing stage for returned soldiers‘, The Age, 25 January 2014

Afghanistan veterans act in a new play that relives some of their experiences and also has therapeutic benefits.

The Long Way Home, a play by Daniel Keene, … opens at the Sydney Theatre Company next month. A first-time collaboration between the Sydney Theatre Company and the Australian Defence Force, the play involves 13 ADF personnel, including Lance Corporal Craig Hancock, Sergeant Sarah Webster and Lance Corporal James Duncan, who work with the four actors to bring the play’s action to life.

”I want our people to have a voice to describe their situation in an unfiltered medium, where there is no agenda other than to seek to understand, help and support,” General Hurley said.

”I want Australians to be able to connect emotionally with their Defence Force. The play will portray the ADF in many colours, good and bad.”

According to the ADF, fewer than 2 per cent of Australian soldiers have developed post-traumatic stress disorder after active service, although figures from the US military indicate higher rates of up to 10 per cent.

A critical review of the play notes its failure to look at the reasons for involvement in wars like Iraq and Afghanistan.

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