Children of the Sea is the latest production from emerging director Jay Emmanuel. Audiences follow the journey of five protagonists aged in their early teens travelling on an Indonesian smuggling boat to Australia, and the challenges which confront them en route.

The production is at its strongest as intimate ensemble piece. The five main characters are Mir from the Pakistani province of Balochistan (played by Satchen Lucido), Rami from the Congo (Harry Hamzat), Noor from Iran (Maniya Amin Dehghan), and the youngest, Hawa, from Burundi (Happyness Yasini). Four actors intermittently appear as unnamed adult passengers, while musicians and co-composers Kavisha Mazzella (voice and bouzouki) and Pavan Kumar Hari (drums) take on minor supporting roles.

Maniya Amin Dehghan, Harry Hamzat and Happyness Yasini in a dress rehearsal of Children of the Sea. Photograph © Dan Grant

Written and directed by Emmanuel, the focus of the narrative is on two former child soldiers, Mir and Rami, who reveal their experiences in a particularly strong scene of paired monologues. We also see Mir’s mother and brother, and it becomes apparent that the tensions within his family drove him to flee his homeland. Personal conflict becomes merged with...