Viral: are you the cure?

July 28, 2022

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Introducing a deadly short film about smashing hepatitis C. Sifting through myths, smashing stigma, and getting the right information can seem like an impossible dream – but preventing and curing hepatitis C is now easier than you might think. Join Ally, Kev and Merv as they navigate their own personal journeys.

Originally staged as a play which toured in 2018 and 2019, VIRAL is a short film made with mob for mob about navigating hepatitis C. The project has been supported by long term partners of ILBIJERRI, the Victorian Government’s Department of Health, as part of a series of works tackling health and social issues.

About the film

In 2005, ILBIJERRI was approached by the Victorian Government Department of Health to develop a play that would communicate hepatitis C prevention and education messages in a culturally appropriate way to the Indigenous community. It was understood that live performance, particularly comedy, is an effective tool in breaking down social boundaries where certain concepts and issues are considered too confronting to publicly discuss.

In 2018, the stage play VIRAL followed on from widely acclaimed works CHOPPED LIVER and BODY ARMOUR – three exciting instalments in ILBIJERRI’s trilogy of hepatitis C health works – aimed at breaking down stigma, promoting healing, and getting our Community hep C free.

Created through an in-depth engagement process, including community workshops and yarning circles, VIRAL was remounted for a second regional tour in 2019, following its inaugural tour in 2018, and once again performed in community centres, schools and prisons.

VIRAL was due to have its third and final community tour in 2020 as a live theatre show. In response to Covid restrictions and the unlikely chance of getting the work out into community spaces, prisons, and health centres, the production was re-imagined as a film to be rolled out in 2022. We hope to engage in further conversation with Community about the film after its full release on 26 July 2022.

About the company

ILBIJERRI is Australia’s longest-running First Nations theatre company, 30 years strong in 2021. They create, present and tour challenging and provocative theatrical works that describe the experiences of First Nations people in Australia today with empathy and honesty.

ILBIJERRI’s work empowers and enlightens audiences, urges discussion, and brings Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices into the foreground of the national agenda. ILBIJERRI (pronounced ‘il BIDGE er ree) is a Woiwurrung word meaning ‘coming together for ceremony’. The company was born from Community and remains grounded in telling the stories of what it means to be First Nations in Australia today. Since 2010, the company has garnered multiple awards and presented across Australia, North America, Europe, New Zealand and Japan.

There is a growing hunger for ILBIJERRI’s work across Australia and around the world. They are committed to developing meaningful relationships with audiences through sharing stories they are uniquely placed to tell.

ILBIJERRI works to reclaim First Nations ways of working within the Australian arts sector, through programs and projects grounded in deep listening with, and for Community and Country. They are committed to a leadership role around best practice in cultural consciousness of First Peoples and ways of being. ILBIJERRI plays a crucial role in the future of First Nations performing arts ecology, at home and overseas.

This work has been made possible by the Victorian Government Department of Health.

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