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Wednesday 30 November, 8.00 – 9.00 pm

Thursday 1 December, 8.00 – 9.00 pm

Friday 2 December, 8.00 – 9.00 pm

Saturday 3 December, 8.00 – 9.00 pm

IPCS, 78-80 Curzon Street, North Melbourne

Register and book now.

Barbary Coast

Barbary Coast is a visual theatre performance, reflecting on the nature of colonialism, intergenerational trauma, loss, land, culture, and identity. 

“Colonization is a crime. It’s a crime against humanity. It’s truly barbarous and it’s part of a past that we need to confront by apologizing to those against whom we committed these acts.”

— Statement made by President Emanuel Macron in February 2017.

“French colonialism refuses to admit that a genuine European can really fight side by side with the Algerian people”.

— Frantz Fanon, A Dying Colonialism, 1959.

Barbary Coast

Barbary Coast is a performance which mixes physical theatre, puppetry, and the art of calligraphy.

A girl of thirteen encounters the spectre of her family’s past being severed.

« Monsieur, you are not able to enter the country ».

1981 in the port of Algiers, after a 24-hour crossing of the Mediterranean, the door would be shut in his face. After numerous visits over the decades, his country was rejecting him. This was to be his last trip on the Liberté.

She turned her back on the country of her ancestors. If her father was not welcome anymore, there could be no reason for her to go. She had no birth connection to this country, she knew little about it.

She never went back.

Well, she did, at the age of seventeen with her mother who was looking for an answer to a question, “why, after so many years?”

Barbary Coast is a visual theatre performance, reflecting on the nature of colonialism, intergenerational trauma, loss, land, culture, and identity. 

In January 2020, the French presidency stated that there was “no question of showing repentance” or of “presenting an apology” for France’s colonial past.

Whether in Australia or elsewhere in the global south, colonial powers have left long lasting marks on native populations and their descendants. Current research has sought to underscore the inheritance of such trauma passed down through the generations.

Through performance, Barbary Coast gives creative expression to the descendants of the colonised, opening space for dialogue. The performance does not consist merely in storytelling, but through art questions the lives of colonialism.

Working with lived experience from the time of the colonisation of North Africa and Vietnam, the performance invites the audience to draw parallels with ongoing demands for truth in the country where we reside.

Based on a score written by Kaira Hachefa, and working with snippets of text written by Aouicha Hachefa, the performance will make us of French, Arabic and English.

Please register.

Barbary Coast

Concept and direction: Kaira Hachefa

Dramaturgy and director assistant: Karen Berger

Texts: Aouicha Hachefa

Performance by Kaira Hachefa, Anso Biguet & Dominic Bourke

Puppet and set: Michael Conole

Calligraphy: Raafat Ishak

Sound design: David Joseph

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Date: 30 November 2022
Time: 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm Location: Ashis Nandy Room, IPCS

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Algeria decolonisation French colonialism Kaira Hachefa North Africa



Kaira Hachefa

is a Naarm/Melbourne based and French-born performing artist, puppeteer, singer, Butoh dancer and theatre maker. She created Compagnie articulate, a puppet theatre company. In 2016 her focus shifted to Butoh and puppetry combined performances for broader audiences, after having worked with schools for many years. Kaira has performed nationally and internationally at festivals such as the renowned Festival de la Marionette in Charleville-Mézières in France. She’s performed across Asia, USA, and Europe, solo or as part of ensembles. In Australia, she has performed with numerous collectives and companies, including the Victorian Opera, IHOS opera laboratory, Blackhole Theatre, Barking Spider Visual Theatre, and the Environmental Performance Authority. She is currently developing Behind the Scenes, a performance about the exploitation of workers in the global south. She’ll be performing in The Last Lighthouse Keeper at Theatre Works in St Kilda in September.