A theatre company has defended one of its productions after Dubbo parents expressed concerns it would be insensitive to Aboriginal students.
Orana Heights Public School, which has a 32 per cent Aboriginal student population, was due to host the Iconic Productions Colonial Show on September 19.
The focus is on Irish and English convicts and the tyranny and oppression that they suffered under the British Empire.Ian Roberts.
Last Friday, Wiradjuri man Joe Williams said a "distressed" parent alerted him to concerns about the show, which invites students to act as non-Aboriginal characters from Australia's past.
"The first thing that came to my mind was 'what type of role are the Aboriginal kids gonna play'," Mr Williams said.
"Are we gonna play the rape, torture and bloodshed part?
"There's no way in the world I would let my kids go and get dressed up in colonial attire. My people were raped and massacred. It isn't anything to celebrate."
After concerns were raised, Mr Williams said the school cancelled the show.
"It's fantastic that the school cancelled it but it shouldn't have come to that," he said.
"It hammers home that we've got more work to do and there is a need for more understanding, empathy and education.
"I truly didn't believe something like that would be allowed in the NSW education system."
Mr Williams, whose students attend Orana Heights Public School, said while colonisation was an important part of Australia's story "it's also an extremely traumatic part of our history for our people".
"There's a great deal of ignorance and acceptance of what happened...the kids of today are still impacted by generational trauma caused by colonisation," he said.
Production supervisor at Iconic Productions, Ian Roberts, said the company had a "variety of shows that focus on the Indigenous people".
"The [Colonial Show's] focus is not on the Aboriginals, the show is based on British colonisation," he said.
"The focus is on Irish and English convicts and the tyranny and oppression that they suffered under the British Empire."
I truly didn't believe something like that would be allowed in the NSW education system.Joe Williams.
Mr Roberts while there were no Aboriginal characters in the Colonial Show, there was an Aboriginal voice which narrated parts of the show and explained why some Aboriginal people call Australia Day Invasion Day.
He said the production team consulted with Aboriginal elders in the past, who said it was offensive for white people to speak on behalf of them.
"We're a theatrical production company, we're not an educational company," Mr Roberts said.
"It's not the company's responsibility to be politically correct.
"The students are all given the opportunity to be or not be in the show. Families have that choice, it is not forced upon anyone.
"The school is responsible for deciding, in consultation with the families, who would participate in the show. That is not the responsibility of the company."
Mr Roberts said Aboriginal families responded positively to the show in Cairns.
"We've had an Aboriginal community in Western Australia that booked our show," he said.
"The show is an interactive show, that is age appropriate and done in an hilarious way to give children the opportunity to investigate and explore their own critical thinking about what happened."
A NSW Department of Education spokesperson said "following consultation with its school community, the school is revising activities" planned for later this month.