It’s not often I’m lost for words, but last night I had the immense pleasure of seeing Stories From The Wayside. If you’re not familiar with The Wayside Chapel in Sydney’s Kings Cross, they do incredible work for homeless and underprivileged people, offering meals, clothing, counselling, referrals, and a shoulder to lean on when no one else is there. My sister is a social worker who has volunteered at the youth arm of the The Wayside, and the stories she has are gut-wrenching but also so inspiring.
In fact, it was my sister who suggested we see Stories From The Wayside. The Wayside have recently completed major renovations to their complex on Hughes Street, and this is the first of many productions in their new theatre space. The production is what’s called verbatim theatre, or reality theatre – 8 Wayside staff, volunteers and visitors told their stories to the actors who were playing them, and the actors reproduced their subjects voice and mannerisms with blinding accuracy. It was not only a direct peek into their minds but into their souls. I had tears rolling down my cheeks as we heard tales of children being ripped away by DOCS, seeing fathers and brothers killed, hearing about Wayside regulars who are no longer with us in this life.
Not only was it raw and emotional, but also uplifting – hearing about the way The Wayside is a tribe for those who don’t have their own families, and how it’s a place of no judgement for those who don’t need to be judged, they just need a shower and a cup of coffee. It reminded me that there are good people in the world, led by Reverend Graham Long, and inspired me to want to do more with The Wayside Chapel in future.
If you have the time between now and September 4th, please go and see it. It’s only $35, and it’s a beautiful reminder of the highs and lows of humanity. More details on The Wayside site.