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Cohuna VIC – Running with Emus is a new, non-naturalistic Australian play

February 29

A new play written by a Gannawarra Shire local, to be launched in Cohuna next February before transferring to La Mama in Melbourne for a 2 week season. The play has also been selected for the VCE play list for 2020.

Cohuna World Premier @ Tree Tops Scout Camp, Spences Bridge Road

29th February 2020

Two Shows 2pm & 6pm

Duration: approximately 90 mins

Cost: $15 ($10 concession)

Bookings: Cohuna Neighbourhood House 5456 4666


Written by: Merrilee Moss

Directed by: Kim Durban

Starring: Julie Nihill, Sam Baxter, Kevin Dee, Gregory J Fryer & Elizabeth Sly


Running with Emus is a new, non-naturalistic Australian play written by the AWGIE award-winning regional Victorian playwright, Merrilee Moss. The story blends two different time zones and is about the conflicts and dynamics that arise in a small town near the Murray River as it considers becoming a “Refugee Friendly Town”. Seventy-six year old Patricia has dropped out of life. She is living on her verandah, watching birds, waiting for her time to come, when her granddaughter arrives to stir up the town. Throw into the mix an Italian ghost from the past, a bigoted Mayor and a chorus of laconic locals and you have a tragi-comic play about what it is to be Australian in a multicultural world; a small town story reflecting a global phenomenon about identity, belonging and coping with change.

Playwright Moss had been inspired and impressed with the generosity and vision shown by communities of “dying” Australian towns such as Mingoola NSW, and Nhill Victoria, which had taken in refugees and, by doing so, reinvigorated their own economies and communities. This is a worldwide phenomenon, where extreme munificence is juxtaposed with greed and bigotry and the building of “walls”. Riace in Italy, for example, has welcomed 6,000 migrants since 1998. Their town used to have high unemployment and an ageing population (like Cohuna), but was revived by an influx of refugees who, as their Mayor proudly states, brought culture and knowledge.

Moss has used all of these issues to infuse the story, characters and conflicts represented in Running with Emus. The play is inspired by, and in conversation with, local dynamics, while it mirrors all sides of this important global debate, including universal themes such as belonging and identity, as represented in the microcosm of this small community.

Emu flyer 6-12-19



February 29