Tickets to Tree of Life II come with a warning: "this performance may make other live theatre seem trivial".
Seventeen young refugees sharing their stories of survival on stage in front of hundreds does indeed make for a rare and unusual viewing experience.
The performers, who range in age from 13 to 20 and include students from Parramatta's Arthur Phillip High School, have been working on the piece together two days a week since July.
They come from different countries — Afghanistan, Iraq, Sri Lanka and Iran to name a few — and follow different religions, yet they all share the experience of arriving in the country as a refugee.
They have written their personal stories into scripts, which are then performed using the metaphor of a tree, starting with tales of childhood at the roots.
The performance was developed as part of a trauma recovery program for refugees.
Director Catherine Maguire-Donvito said at the end of the program the participants come out with the idea that they are defined as survivors of traumas, rather than victims.
"They go from not being able to tell their story without crying to being able to perform in front of hundreds of people," she said.
"Each time they tell it they become more comfortable.
"It becomes something that is normalised."