Sydney Theatre and the Australian Defence Force Present THE LONG WAY HOME, Now thru 3/29

Sydney Theatre Company and the Australian Defence Force present The Long Way Home in its Melbourne premiere. The show, by Daniel Keene, will run today 27 to 29 March 2014 at the Merlyn Theatre, The Coopers Malthouse. For more information, visit or call 03 9685 5111.

The Long Way Home, a new play by Daniel Keene, is an historic collaboration between Sydney Theatre Company (STC) and the Australian Defence Force (ADF), coming to Melbourne in March for three nights only as part of an extensive national tour.

Featuring 13 real soldiers on stage alongside four professional actors, The Long Way Home conveys the personal stories of Australian servicemen and women who have been wounded, injured or become ill during ADF operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and East Timor.

In 2013, 15 servicemen and women participated in an intensive research and development program at STC sharing their experiences with director Stephen Rayne, playwright Daniel Keene and professional actors to shape this new play. 13 of these participants, ranging from Private to Brigadier, now perform with the four professional actors in The Long Way Home, a unique theatre experience reflecting Australia's recent experience of war.

The Long Way Home will, in the centenary year of the start of the Great War, give audiences a unique insight into the challenges these men and women and their families confront.

The servicemen and women participating in the program have sustained a range of physical and psychological wounds or injuries and the development process and the production itself supports their rehabilitation and recovery.

The Long Way Home is supported by three patrons, General David Hurley, Chief of the Defence Force; Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith, recipient of the Victoria Cross for Australia; and acclaimed actor Jack Thompson.

General Hurley said: "Their stories will resonate with all service personnel and provide families and the Australian community with a unique insight into our war experiences. The Long Way Home is a candid account that will inspire and educate audiences."

Ben Roberts-Smith said: "By sharing their powerful and moving accounts of war, these courageous servicemen and women will help create and perform a compelling theatre production telling the story of more than a decade of Defence operations-as a tribute to the sacrifices made by so many from the Australian Defence Force."

Jack Thompson said: "Making this play will be a powerful experience for everyone involved and I look forward to watching these brave men and women of the Australian Defence Force go on this journey together, using their famed courage and team work, this time for the creation of a new piece of theatre. I sincerely hope that this unique and important project will be as rewarding for those who choose to share their stories as I'm sure it will be for audiences throughout this country."

With Stephen Rayne and Daniel Keene, STC's creative team is comprised of Set and Costume Designer Renée Mulder, Lighting Designer Damien Cooper and Sound Designer Steve Francis.

The Long Way Home opens at Sydney Theatre on February 7. In addition to seasons in Sydney and Melbourne, the production will also be seen in Darwin, Brisbane, Wollongong, Townsville, Canberra, Adelaide and Perth.

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