Two weeks ago, the Northcote Town Hall was buzzing with another energetic performance by the Anti Racism Action Band (A.R.A.B) who hip hopped, sang, belly danced, rocked and Krumped their way through their latest production Conjure. The story was about a brave young writer from the ‘burbs’ who’s chasing a dream that’s not restricted by her past, her family or cultural comfort zone and follows her desperate attempts to please a demanding publisher. It opens with a young boy, Habs, who owns ‘Hab’s Kebabs’ a small, popular stand in the North. He is the boy next door, the one you pass at train stations with the loud wog accent and gold chains and quickly look the other way, the one you write off because of his Broady slang or his background which suggests his dreams can only reach as far as kebab stands or take away shops. But that night, the Northcote Town Hall was the writer’s imagination and her stories starred kids like Habs who did not disappear in the backdrop of society but raised their voices and conjured bold futures beyond the suffocating mould of their stereotypes. The publisher was going insane demanding “more Neighbours,” not Bollywood, not Broadmeadows, not reality. More fake backdrops, sterile characters, whiter streets. After all, who wants to read or watch a reality cluttered with migrant kids caught between two worlds, who are daring to believe in another future? These stories have always been reserved for budget productions, not for the big screen. Not anymore. As I watched the A.R.A.B kids act, dance, sing, and believe, I saw passion. These kids are no longer settling for “someone else’s kebab”. So line them up, Habs. We’ll risk the onion breath, the heartburn. Give us kebabs with the lot!

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