‘I Need You To See Me’, a new song by Vidya Makan, is an explicit invitation to our entertainment industry from the talented artists it habitually marginalises It is about the inclusion and visibility of voices who have for too long, been either underrepresented, misrepresented or completely erased from our stages and screens. The song features 101 BIPoC and CALD performers aged 18 – 25 from around Australia, showcasing just a snippet of the amazing talent we have nationwide. The video clip features incredible emerging talent, as well as some of Australia’s leading musical theatre performers including Shubshri Kandiah, Marty Alix and Jayme-Lee Hanekom.
Vidya Makan is a critically acclaimed actor, singer and composer/lyricist having most recently starred as Catherine Parr in Six: The Musical (Louise Withers). She is currently working in collaboration with Hayes Theatre Co, writing Straya: The Lucky Country; a song cycle exploring Australian Identity. As a composer, she has also been commissioned by the likes of National Gallery Victoria and Chips & Gravy Films. Vidya is proud to be a panelist in the inaugural year of the Artists Of Colour Initiative, championing emerging BIPoC musical theatre artists. Vidya’s credits include: Dot/Marie in Sunday In The Park With George (Watch This) which earned her a Green Room nomination for Best Performance In A Leading Role, Lady Capulet in Romeo and Juliet (Australian Shakespeare Company), Green Day’s American Idiot (Shake & Stir), Air Race (Arena Theatre) and the lead role Maria Krish in the feature film The Colour Of Darkness.
On the project, Vidya said:
All musicals have songs that address “change” or a “new day” in some way or another so I think it is about time that, as an industry, we started practicing what we preach. Visibility of a truly diverse range of artists on our stages is essential.
I wanted to create a project that proves to the wider public what we already know: an incredible array of diverse talented and deserving artists exist here in Australia. So I made a call out for BIPoC and diverse artists aged 18-25 and within a few days, I had such a huge range of diverse performers apply, all eager to be involved. It wasn’t complex and there was no shortage of talent.
We hear the same rhetoric repeated over and over again when casts or projects are announced and there is a continued absence of diverse representation. It’s always pushed back on the marginalised communities themselves. We ‘aren’t out there’ or ‘didn’t show up’- a common refrain that gave rise to last year’s #justnotthatmany visibility campaign. Or worse still, the suggestion that we are not good enough.
Watch the incredible and powerful song now:
Header image credit: wolfbang