“Homelessness is not so much about shelter, it is an intrinsic state of unrest”
– I Archibald
She’s Landed at the Gatwick involved the substantial reworking of a musical theatre production and art exhibition originally devised in 2005 inside the Deer Park women’s prison. Since that time three of the women in the original production had been released and all indicated a strong desire to be a part of the new devising process. Working alongside 7 women ex-prisoners and 5 professional artists from Somebody’s Daughter Theatre (SDT), were two leading young people from the Company’s rural youth programs in Wodonga and Geelong.
Leading up to the public performances and exhibition at Chapel off Chapel Theatre in Prahran, there were many art, photography, drama and movement workshops with not only women post release, but also individuals referred by local crisis services from the inner Melbourne area. The art and photography workshops culminated in a publication and an exhibition – presented concurrently with the sell-out performances of, She’s Landed at the Gatwick between 17- 25th November, 2007. The Gatwick project centred on the theme of homelessness, now recognised as one of the biggest social problems facing this country.
SYNOPSIS: “SHE’S LANDED AT THE GATWICK”
Sammi, is a troubled teenager living in a residential unit in Wodonga. She is desperate to reconnect with her mother who is serving time in prison in Melbourne and is soon to be released. So Sammi takes off to the big city in the hope of finding some connection to her mother’s life. Landing on the streets of St. Kilda, amongst the sex workers, drugs, pimps and dealers she finds much more than she bargained for:
“Well hello, do you need somewhere to stay? Come try the Gatwick, honey, ‘til you find your way…”
The Gatwick Hotel, St Kilda is about to be bulldozed to make way for luxury apartments. The not so salubrious rooming house may be a bit rough around the edges but it’s a place of refuge for many who find themselves homeless, penniless, or like Sammi’s mum, just released from prison.
“Welcome to the grand old dame of St Kilda, Tarnished, twisted jewel by the sea, Her faded glory tells a million stories, Without her glamour, honey, who or where would we be?”
Queeny, the big-hearted owner of the “grand old dame” has been there, done that, seen it all these past 30 years – she’s even sometimes had to turn a blind eye – but she’d rather die than turf her customers out onto the street. The girls, the drunks, the lonely and lost have all become her family. And this wily old seasoned performer sure ain’t going down without a fight.