EYES TO THE FLOOR
by Alana Valentine
SYDNEY THEATRE SCHOOL
DIRECTOR Luke Rogers
Pollyanna Kasia Nowicki
Eyes To The Floor was a production with students from Sydney Theatre School
When girls at the Parramatta Training School rioted in 1961, a more punitive institution was set up in a disused psychiatric hospital in Hay, in remote Western NSW. The Hay Institution for Girls was reported to be “a bold, successful experiment to rehabilitate hard-core delinquents.”
In reality it was a place of extreme, dehumanising brutality for young girls. For 14 years, Hay was the site of further degradation and psychological torment for the young women it housed. Forced to constantly keep their 'eyes to the floor', these girls were not allowed to speak to each other and were forced to lay and then break up concrete paths, scrub paint from walls and tend the institution's garden.
Eyes To The Floor is a chilling portrayal about one of Australian history’s lesser-known dark chapters, a moving portrait of hope that survives even in the worst of conditions.