• Performing alongside Australian trumpet virtuoso James Morrison is a unique opportunity for Logan city’s aspiring musicians. (File)
One of southeast Queensland's most ethnically diverse areas has often been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.
By
Amy Wang and Stefan Armbruster

26 Jul 2015 - 5:27 PM  UPDATED 27 Jul 2015 - 1:51 PM

Queensland’s Logan City caught national attention in 2013, when two families in the suburb of Woodridge got into a four-day fight.

Media coverage of the incident highlighted Logan as a troubled city, fuelled by racial tension and violence.

Two years on, the city is eager to change its image in a major community musical produced by the Queensland Music Festival.

 

Performing alongside Australian trumpet virtuoso James Morrison is a unique opportunity for Logan city’s aspiring musicians.

They’re launching a brand new musical called Under this Sky for the Queensland Music Festival.

It’s the city’s biggest ever local production, with over 700 performers and original music written by and for the community.

The two free shows will be held in Logan on the first and second of August.

The festival’s creative director James Morrison described how the musical follows a day in the life of Logan city. 

“Out of each of those parts of the day, the morning, the afternoon, and the evening and the dawn we sort of look at the kinds of stories that come out at that time of the day,” he said.

“When it starts in the morning there are people going to work, there are mothers pushing prams, there are people doing exercises in the park and all these sorts of things and of course that turns into a dance that turns into a song and it talks about Logan – it’s like anywhere else. People go to work, people go to school, people do things and as the story goes on you find that it’s not like everywhere else.”

Creative director of Under This Sky, Sean Mee said the show’s narrative evolved from countless conversations with the cast.

“They wanted to, from a point of healing, begin to tell the stories of Logan that they were proud of, that were the heroic stories, the ordinary heroics of living in a place like this with its history, and with its story and with its circumstances, given that it's a place of starting,” he said.

“This is where people start their lives, whether they be, coming from low socio economic areas, or they're coming from overseas or they’re coming from refugee communities. This is where they start.”

The city of Logan sits between Brisbane and the Gold Coast in South East Queensland.

The Logan Local Government area includes 64 suburbs covering urban areas, woodlands, waterways and wetlands.

According to the Council it’s one of the largest and fastest growing cities in Australia.

However the 2013 Wooldridge street brawl dented Logan’s image.

The incident involved violent clashes between neighbouring indigenous and Pacific Islander families, off the back of simmering racial tensions in the community.

At one stage, typing ‘Logan City’ in a search engine resulted in a confronting photo of the fight. 

The uncomplimentary photograph outraged the community and Logan City Mayor Pam Parker got Google to eventually remove the picture.

Mayor Parker hopes ‘Under this Sky’ will change public perception of Logan.

“This is about showing the people outside of Logan that Logan is more than one incident, it’s more than two families. It’s about a whole city coming together to celebrate a day in the life in Logan,” she said.

Rona, one of the show’s performers, was born in New Zealand of Samoan descent, and has lived in Logan for twenty years.

While she has seen criminal activities in her neighbourhood, she said she has always felt safe.

“I’ve lived in Logan for 20 years now and I’ve never been scared even though since I’ve lived here there has been lots of stuff that we’ve witnessed and heard on the news and you know, murder around the corner from where I live, domestic violence all up and down my street, drug dealers across the road, everybody getting robbed and for some reason I love living in Logan, I never saw those things as threatening to myself or my family,” she said.

‘Under This Sky’ premiers August 1 at the Wembley Road Football Field in Logan.