The South Sydney Rabbitohs are throwing their support behind an Australian Defence Force (ADF) project, helping wounded, injured or sick servicemen and women with their rehabilitation once they are back on Australian soil.
Defence has been working with Sydney Theatre Company to develop a new Australian play called The Long Way Home as part of a recovery and rehabilitation program for Australian Defence Force members harmed in the line of duty.
Servicemen and women who have been wounded, injured or become ill in service will perform in The Long Way Home; a play that will reflect their personal experiences as well as the past decade of ADF operations.
“The past decade has seen the Australian Defence Force (ADF) involved in continuous, active war-like service,” said Chief of the Defence Force and Rabbitohs Member, General David Hurley.
“ADF personnel have been deployed around the world on diverse missions in dangerous and hazardous situations – often at risk to their own lives.
“Defence Force personnel are highly trained and disciplined with a world-class reputation. They demonstrate courage, integrity and professionalism, in what are often difficult and challenging circumstances.
“The Long Way Home presents an exciting opportunity to support the rehabilitation and recovery of ADF members who have been harmed in the line of duty.
Director General ADF Theatre Project, Brigadier Alison Creagh, said the play would provide audiences with a better understanding of the challenges ADF personnel face on operations and in their service careers.
“The Long Way Home will be a moving experience and will provide audiences with a deep insight into what it’s like on ADF operations,” Brigadier Creagh said.
“As we drawdown from Afghanistan and approach the centenary of World War I, The Long Way Home will showcase the courage and mateship the ADF is renowned for and will be an opportunity for Australians to pay tribute to our servicemen and women - both past and present - and reflect on the experience of war.”
This unique rehabilitation project is sponsored by the Chief of the Defence Force and supported by patrons Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith, VC, MG and renowned Australian actor, Jack Thompson.
“Our soldiers, sailors and airmen put their lives on the line to ensure our way of life is protected,” said Corporal Roberts-Smith.
“This inspiring project is an opportunity for you to make a difference in the lives of these men and women.”
Mr Thompson added: “The play will tell the survival stories of many who have been harmed in the line of duty; and set them on a new journey for the future.”
British director Stephen Rayne and multi-award-winning Australian writer Daniel Keene have shaped a powerful piece of theatre, featuring military personnel recovering from physical and psychological injuries. These servicemen and women will perform alongside professional actors as part of a broader rehabilitation program that will assist their recovery. It will open a door on their lives while deployed on operations and illuminate the challenges of their return to everyday life.
As we approach the centenary of the beginning of The Great War, Australia and the world will pause and find their own ways to explore the impact of this war on their lives and minds. The Australian Defence Force has embarked on an historic endeavour with Sydney Theatre Company to present this major new work, taking the words and experiences of servicemen and women to create a unique, inspiring and unforgettable event.
The Long Way Home opened in Sydney on Friday 7 February and will tour to Darwin, Brisbane, Wollongong, Townsville, Canberra, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.
Tour dates and ticketing information is available on the Sydney Theatre Company’s website.
The Rabbitohs will also be assisting fundraising for The Long Way Home by donating a signed, player-worn jersey from this year’s ANZAC Day game to be played against the Brisbane Broncos in Brisbane on Friday 25 April. Details of the auction will be available in the coming weeks on www.rabbitohs.com.au.