The all First Nations team of creative heroes who worked on VIRAL have returned victorious from a tour that moved, inspired and saved lives – reaching mob with 20 shows in community centers, schools and prisons, right across Victoria and South Australia.

Commissioned by the Victorian Government as a health intervention, VIRAL follows on from ILBIJERRI’s widely-acclaimed works CHOPPED LIVER and BODY ARMOUR as the latest instalment in ILBIJERRI’s trilogy of hepatitis C health works, aimed at breaking down shame, promoting healing and getting Indigenous communities hep C free.

VIRAL was created and delivered through a holistic engagement process including community workshops prior to the tour, and yarning circles after each show. Cast member Laila Thaker reflected on the satisfaction of bringing a show back to the people whose stories helped create the script and seeing how the process changed things for them: ‘when we returned with the show, many workshop participants had started treatment, and one had been cleared of the virus’.

‘Emotional. Raw. Brilliant’: these are the descriptors one VIRAL audience member applied to the show. ‘Powerful yet funny’, was another’s summation.

For Kamarra Bell-Wykes, ILBIJERRI Creative Director and Director and Dramaturge of VIRAL, the show is the culmination of 15 years of personal and professional development. ‘When we began with CHOPPED LIVER’, she explains, ‘we were educating people about how to manage a chronic illness. Never in my life time did I think we’d be telling this story of healing. This may not be heart surgery, but we are saving lives’.

VIRAL will tour again in 2019. Further details will appear here.

Image: Jacinta Keefe. Performers pictured: Laila Thaker and Jesse Butler.