Rent content sheds light on important issues | editorial

Erin Boutcher, who plays Mimi, and Brady King, who plays Roger, sing together in Rent. Picture: AMANDA WILSON
Erin Boutcher, who plays Mimi, and Brady King, who plays Roger, sing together in Rent. Picture: AMANDA WILSON

HORSHAM Arts Council has brought to light confronting but important issues our community faces every day. 

Through the arts council’s latest production of Rent, which opened at Horsham Town Hall on Friday last week, audiences follow the journey of a group of eight people – mostly struggling musicians and artists – set in Manhattan from 1989 to 1990. 

The show deals with topics that most audience members will likely find confronting. Homelessness, HIV and LGBTQI issues, drugs and drug use, suicide and death are complex and are often not easy to understand or discuss.

But it is perhaps the reality and real-life connections this show exposes that is the most confronting of all.

No community is immune to such issues that remained, sadly, largely taboo in the not-too-distant past. But to become more aware and to become more accepting, people must be educated and the topics must be discussed. 

“It’s like looking through a window at a snapshot of someone’s life,” the show’s director Debbie Boutcher told the Wimmera Mail-Times ahead of opening night.

“Theatre really deals with issues in a way that no other medium can.”

The arts council should not only be congratulated for bringing such issues further into the open – but for also shining a light on the support services available to those who need it. 

The arts council has partnered with headspace Horsham, Uniting Wimmera and Grampians Community Health to offer support to people dealing with similar issues raised in the show. These are, after all, organisations that are helping people from every facet of our community every single day. 

Details are available to people via the show’s official program and on flyers available at the Horsham Town Hall during the show.

People wanting assistance can also call headspace Horsham on 5381 1543; Uniting Wimmera on 5362 4000; or Grampians Community Health on 5358 7400.

The talent of our Wimmera people is shining bright and after months of rehearsals, only three shows at the town hall – on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night – remain. 

There’s still time to head along, support the work our arts council and open your eyes. No day but today.

Jessica Grimble, editor


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