Three jerks take on stereotypes in new play


The infamous gang rapes that polarised Sydney in 2000 set the scene of a groundbreaking new play that will be performed at the Sydney Writers' Festival and Emerging Writers' Festival this May.

#Three Jerks stars Bankstown writers Michael Mohammed Ahmad and Peter Polites, and Liverpool writer Luke Carman, who will share their stories of growing up in Western Sydney amid the controversial crimes often referred to by the media as the 'Lebanese' and 'Muslim' gang rapes of 2000.

The spoken word performance will be directed by Roslyn Oades and is produced by Sweatshop, the Western Sydney Literacy Movement based at the University of Western Sydney.

As well as performing, Michael Mohammed Ahmad is the creator of #Three Jerks. He says that he wanted to make a show that challenges the stereotypes and perceptions that currently exist concerning men from Western Sydney, especially men of Arab and Muslim backgrounds.

"The gang rapes in 2000 were presented by the media in a way that condemned a whole community, vilifying not just the perpetrators, but almost everyone who came from the same cultural and religious background as them too," says Mr Ahmad.

"#Three Jerks is a show that will help us understand the impact that the crimes, the politicians, the police and the media reports had on the lives of ordinary young men from the western suburbs of Sydney."

The show coincides with the recent release of two of the men convicted for their involvement in the gang rapes – 'H' and Mohamed Sanoussi – from prison late 2013 and earlier this year.

Mr Ahmad believes that because the crimes have now resurfaced in the media, it is important that we are engaging with them in a critical and complex manner.

#Three Jerks will play at the Wharf in Sydney for the Sydney Writers' Festival before heading off to Melbourne for the Emerging Writers' Festival.


13 May 2014

Contact: Mark Smith, Senior Media Officer