Children of the Sea

Jay Emmanuel
17–20 February
Perth Festival
Perth, WA

The UN Refugee Agency reports 70.8 million people were forcibly displaced by conflict or persecution at the close of 2018.

52% of those were children.

Follow four unaccompanied children as they embark on a perilous journey. Drifting on Indo-Australian waters towards an uncertain future they confront memories of the lives they have left behind.

The culmination of a two-year research project, Children of the Sea is Jay Emmanuel’s emotional and epic theatrical piece that shares the journey of young maritime survivors who came to Australia by boat. Inspired by true stories, it brings together a stellar team of five extraordinary young performers onstage with a vocal ensemble led by Green Room Award-winning singer-songwriter, composer, performer and choir-leader, Kavisha Mazzella.

A counter-response to one of the most pressing issues humanity is facing right now, the piece asks: How do children deal with fate and tragedy? What do children do to survive in the face of adversity? What gives them hope? How does loss and displacement morph childhood?

A tribute to hope and a sobering reminder of the stories that float on the horizon, Children of the Sea explores the paradoxes and confusions of a world dealing with an unprecedented flux of uprooted lives.  Chilling, yet playful and funny, this sensitive and politically-charged show puts children front and centre – their voice, their story – ultimately creating an uplifting theatrical experience.


Writer, Director & Librettist
Jay Emmanuel

Script Dramaturg
Shakthidharan Sivanathan

Co-Composer & Librettist
Kavisha Mazzella

Co-Composer & Musician
Pavan Kumar Hari

Performers/Youth Ensemble
Maniya Amin-Dehghan
Harry Hamzat
Satchen Lucido
Abimanjou Mathivannan
Happyness Yasini

Vocal  Ensemble
Kavisha Mazzella
Pavan Kumar Hari
Jordan Azor
Richard Maganga

Set and Costume Designer
Bryan Woltjen

Lighting Designer
Matt Marshall

Sound Designer
James Luscombe

Acting Coach
Phil Thomson

Voice Coach
Julia Moody

Cultural Advisor
Ali Raza

Script Dramaturg – 1st stage
Polly Low

Production Manager
Ben Nelson

Stage Manager
Rhianne Coffey

Community Engagement Coordinator
Anju Sivarajah

Co-produced by
Performing Lines WA and Encounter

Information for Presenters

This work will premiere at the 2021 Perth Festival.

Dates & Times: Wed – Fri 7pm | Sat 2pm & 7pm
Post-show Q&A on Thur 11 Dec

Venue: Subiaco Arts Centre, 180 Hamersley Road, Subiaco

Duration: 70mins | Latecomers not admitted


  • Audio-described performance Fri 12 Feb 7pm
  • Tactile tour available before the show on Fri 12 Feb 7pm
  • Auslan interpreted performance Thu 11 Feb 7pm

Performed in English, Urdu, Farsi, Kirundi & Congolese
Contains adult themes and disturbing stories

Rachael Whitworth Senior Producer
Zainab Syed Producer

Presentation History

Perth Festival
Perth, WA

Project Partners & Acknowledgements

Co-produced by Performing Lines WA and Encounter, the work has been supported by the WA Government through the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, and the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.

The world­ premiere of the work was co-commissioned and presented by Perth Festival.

In everything we do, we acknowledge that we live on Aboriginal land and constantly learn from the wisdom of our First Peoples.

Where we are and the history that precedes us informs how we work and how we move forward.