Theatrical show aims to dismantle ‘toxic narrative’

Gideon D. Wilonja will appear in a play he has written, Do Black Boys Go To Heaven?, at the Wyndham Cultural Centre. (Supplied).

Writer Gideon D. Wilonja says that his latest play was inspired by talking to his black male friends about how society perceives them and the impact this can have.

Wilonja, of Wyndham Vale, runs the Mwangaza Theatre Company.

His play, Do Black Boys Go To Heaven? will be performed at the Wyndham Cultural Centre from February 3 to 5 to coincide with the Midsumma Festival.

Wilonja said the play was “a manifestation of a number of conversations I’ve had with my black male friends”.

“Often the question of where do black boys go for healing comes up when we are talking about the unspoken trauma that comes with being a black boy in a society that paints us to be threats, before we can be anything else,” said.

“So I wanted to write a play that explores what happens when we are forced to hold in our pain, anger and trauma.

“All the characters in the play embody a specific hurt that turns ugly when not given the space to heal.”

Wilonja also performs in the show, which he said the entire cast and crew have collaborated on.

“I am lucky to be working some of the brightest local African talents,” Wilonja said.

Wilonja said he hopes Do Black Boys Go To Heaven? will help “dismantle the toxic narrative that has been created around queerness, blackness, religious power and legal authority – and most importantly create space to allow black boys to be vulnerable”.

Do Black Boys Go To Heaven?, 7.30pm, February 3-5 and 2pm, February 5.

Wilonja will participate in an artist in conversation event from 3-4pm, February 4.

Tickets: $20-$30. Details: or call 8734 6000.

By Alesha Capone