Bearfoot Theatre

Theatre & Performance

Do Your Parents Know You’re Straight

‘Do Your Parents Know You’re Straight?’ is a bold contemporary play exploring queer identity, prejudice and mental health. DYPKYS runs at Newcastle’s Civic Playhouse 17 to 20 Feb 2021.

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Written and directed by non-binary emerging artist Riley McLean, DYPKYS is a theatrically dynamic and brutally honest look at the prejudice faced by the LGBTQIA+ community in a mirrored version of our society. Casey Miller is a teenager with a secret – he’s straight. Feeling isolated, Casey uses his writing to create a friend – a lesbian girl who lives in an opposite world (much like our own) where heterosexuality is accepted as the norm.

‘Do Your Parents Know You’re Straight?’ was originally staged in 2017 at the height of the marriage equality debate in Australia. The production was met with strong emotional reactions from our audience members and opened a dialogue about LGBTQ+ issues among the wider theatre community. We believe this iteration only reached a fraction of its potential to inspire discussion and empower queer voices. Since 2017, the script and directorial concept have undergone significant development to present a more mature version of the play.

Staging relevant, contemporary work is crucial for engaging youth and building diversity in the arts community. This is a show built to both challenge audiences and authentically represent the queer experience, supported by a diverse cast and creative team.

By supporting this production, you will be directly contributing to the ongoing development and staging of original theatre works, as well as ensuring we continue to have the platform to reach new and diverse audiences with authentic stories that speak to their experiences.

2020 brought many challenges and we are thankful to our supporters who got involved with our online play readings and online concert, the enthusiastic support and honest feedback we received helped us to stay engaged and focused on the future. We are beyond excited to return to the stage.

Donations made to this project are tax deductible. (Note exclusion for ‘Associates’ of Bearfoot Theatre).

DYPKYS aims to alter negative perceptions whilst supporting and inspiring those struggling by sharing a story easily accessible to people from all walks of life. Although the theatre-going crowd we connect with is generally accepting of diversity, we were surprised by how much this piece affected families and allies of the queer community.

“I have always been ‘supportive’ and ‘accepting’ but DYPKYS really gave me a deeper insight into the personal journeys of my own loved ones that I had never really spent too much time thinking about.” – Audience Member, 2017

Starting conversations is the first step. DYPKYS will succeed if we can get our audiences talking- to their children, to their parents, to their partners, friends, family- not just to promote being open with our identities, but with our feelings too. The show subtly follows the decline of Casey’s mental health due to negative responses to his news – something more for audiences to consider about their response to family and friends.

Artist

Bearfoot Theatre

Location

NSW

Categories

Theatre & Performance

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Bearfoot Theatre is a Not For Profit theatre association based in Newcastle, NSW Australia. We are young theatre practitioners who are carving our own paths and creating original, experimental work from the ground up with no rules. Bearfoot has a focus on producing predominately original works of theatre, which convey relevant social messages and give a voice to young artists.

We assist the development of local writers by providing opportunities to workshop their scripts and to bring together a diverse and inclusive community of creatives from all facets of the industry, fostering opportunities for these people to apply their skills in a professional setting.

Artistic Director Riley McLean has been in independent theatre practice since 2015, initiating Eclectic Productions Newcastle, the springboard for Bearfoot as a vehicle for original works. Bearfoot Theatre is a registered Not For Profit.

Bearfoot has produced 5 original works to date, and has additionally remounted and toured 2 of its productions to Sydney and one interstate. Each year we have been nominated in the Best New Play written for a Newcastle Audience category at the City of Newcastle Drama Association (CONDA) Awards, and won this category in 2019 with Cassie Hamilton’s Playing Face, which has since been published by Australian Plays.

In 2020, while unable to produce theatre for an audience due to COVID, we delivered 5 months of innovative creative opportunities, through Bearfoot Readings, with online readings of nine wonderful original scripts in varying stages of development. A huge thank you to the writers, readers and listeners for helping us keep creativity alive! This initiative won the new CONDA category of Best Online Series for 2020, and Bearfoot also won Best Online Special Event for the Bearfoot Pride Concert, an online event to unify and celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community. It was Bearfoot’s year, with Artistic Director Riley McLean also taking out the ‘gold’ CONDA for Outstanding Achievement and Contribution to Theatre 2020.

In 2021, we are preparing to present Riley’s own original play Do Your Parents Know You’re Straight, at Civic Playhouse Newcastle from 17 to 20 February.

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Joel Mews

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Naomi De Lyall

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Naomi De Lyall

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