We acknowledge and pay our respects to the Elders, Ancestors and leaders of the Kulin Nations on whose unceded lands ILBIJERRI Theatre Company is based.
We extend this respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, recognising their resilience and ongoing connection to land, water and culture, despite ongoing colonial interruption and genocide.
Always was, always will be, sacred Indigenous land.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples should be advised that this website may contain images of deceased persons.
Originally staged as a play which toured in 2018 and 2019, VIRAL is a short film made with mob for mob about navigating hepatitis C. The project has been supported by long term partners of ILBIJERRI, the Victorian Government's Department of Health, as part of a series of works tackling health and social issues.
Sifting through myths, smashing stigma, and getting the right information can seem like an impossible dream – but preventing and curing hepatitis C is now easier than you might think.
Join Ally and Kev who live up in the flats. They’ve got their own little place, a brand new baby and dreams for the future. Life should be good but sometimes things don’t always go to plan.
Meet Merv who hasn’t been feeling great lately, not for some years in fact. Years of tough luck, bad choices and hard living have finally caught up with him.
They’re all looking at one final chance to make things right before it’s too late.
In 2005, ILBIJERRI was approached by the Victorian Government Department of Health & Human Services to develop a play that would communicate hepatitis C prevention and education messages in a culturally appropriate way to the Indigenous community. It was understood that live performance, particularly comedy, is an effective tool in breaking down social boundaries where certain concepts and issues are considered too confronting to publicly discuss.
In 2018, the stage play VIRAL followed on from our widely acclaimed works CHOPPED LIVER and BODY ARMOUR - three exciting instalments in ILBIJERRI’s trilogy of hepatitis C health works - aimed at breaking down stigma, promoting healing, and getting our Community hep C free.
Created through an in-depth engagement process, including community workshops and yarning circles, VIRAL was remounted for a second regional tour in 2019, following its inaugural tour in 2018, and once again performed in community centres, schools and prisons.
VIRAL was due to have its third and final community tour in 2020 as a live theatre show. In response to Covid restrictions and the unlikely chance of getting the work out into community spaces, prisons, and health centres, the production was re-imagined as a film to be rolled out in 2022.
New tablets kill the Hepatitis C virus:
Hepatitis treatment protects us all. Yarn it up with your doctor: it doesn’t matter how you got it.
Ask for a blood borne virus test at your next health check.
Get checked and get cured
Hep C facts:
Hepatitis C is a virus. Without treatment hepatitis C can shorten your life.
You can get it again - so don’t share diabetes prickers, injecting, tattooing or piercing equipment.
You can’t get hepatitis C by sharing food, cups, and hugs or kisses, or from toilets or mozzies!
 Kirby Institute Annual Surveillance Report (2018) https://kirby.unsw.edu.au/report/hiv-viral-hepatitis-and-sexually-transmissible-infections-australia-annual-surveillance
 DHHS Annual Surveillance report (2018)
This project has been commissioned by the Victorian State Government via the Department of Health.
With special thanks to LiverWELL incorporating Hepatitis Victoria, Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO), Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS), Justice Health via Department of Justice and Community Safety, Thorne Harbour Health, the Burnet Institute, and the Centre for Excellence in Rural Sexual Health (CERSH).
Blayne Welsh, Laila Thaker, Corey Saylor-Brunskill, Joshua Austin, Zerene Jaadwa, Lisa Maza, Nick Sumner-Wright, Eban Roach, Melodie Reynolds-Diarra, Jaeden Williams, Stone Motherless Cold, Alinta Roberta, Natasha Garling, Dylan Kerr
Writer Maryanne Sam
Screen Adaptation Chantelle Murray
Creative Direction Kamarra Bell-Wykes
Producer Lauren Sheree
Filmed and edited YOUTHWORX Productions
ILBIJERRI thanks members from Bendigo and District Aboriginal Co-operative (BDAC); Star Health; Loddon Prison Precinct, and the 2018 cast of VIRAL (Jesse Butler, Laila Thaker and Blayne Welsh) for their vital contributions to the development of this project.