VIRAL is a Theatre in Education play created by CemeNTmix Youth Theatre, a project of Darwin Community Arts. Alyson led a series of drama workshops exploring youth issues and it became apparent that the internet played a major role in the issues that young people face today. It also became clear that the young people felt the topic was far more complex than adults understood. In May 2013 the process of devising a play that would reflect young people’s lives and challenge their online behaviour began.
VIRAL follows the story of Emily, a 17 year old that did what she could to fit in with the popular girls, even if this meant compromising her other friendships. What her new ‘friends’ failed to acknowledge was the difficulties that Emily was facing at home, which began affect her everyday life. Feeling like she had no one to turn to, Emily uploads a video online, which goes viral and attracts a lot of attention–but not the sort of attention she was after.
At the end of 2013 VIRAL toured to 2 schools and 1 community hall. Each performance was followed with a workshop and discussion that gave the audience the opportunity to voice their opinions, share their stories and step into Emily’s shoes and attempt to change her actions for the better.
The feedback we received was fantastic
“Confronting and relevant. More awareness needs to be made before the events that take place before a ‘crazy internet post.’ This captured this perfectly.’
“Great play. Should be done in ALL high schools.”
“I thought it was one of the most charming, engaging and intelligent pieces of theatre for young people I’ve seen in a long time.”
Photographs by Tarz McDonald