April 9 2010

Letters from Darwin

Australian Landscape

From Darwin Community Arts, March 2010

Hi Alyson,

We are looking forward to your prospective visit….I have been working at Darwin Community Arts since January and initially came on board to run two facilitate two theatre projects.

My background is in Theatre, specifically directing and project facilitation, and I ended up in Darwin after running a six week Drama program in an Indigenous Community at the end of last year.

Darwin Community Arts is currently trying to set up a project called CemeNTworx, which will provide a platform (resources, facilitators and assistance with funding) for theatre projects that are run through this organisation. We are still working through the framework for CemeNTworx and are planning to continue to apply for funding so this is sustainable. There is a great need for Theatre in Darwin and we are hoping CemeNTworx will help fill this gap.

At the moment I am facilitating a number of theatre projects but the ones most likely to still be going when you arrive are –

1) The Arts Access Darwin group. This is a group of young adults and one teenager with disabilities who worked on a project last year that focused on theatre skills and ended in a production. This year we are focusing on Shakespeare’s themes and are hoping there will be a production outcome. The group informs the devising process and we are continuing on skill development during the workshops. There are currently no other opportunities for people with disabilities to access theatre training in the Northern Territory.

2) I am working on a multi-cultural theatre project. This group is newly-formed and we are focusing on skill development and the devising of characters and potential a script. The group is currently very interested in exploring the themes of ‘fame’ but we will also be looking into their more ‘real’ experiences.

Since I began work at DCA quite a few different organisations have indicated their desire to use theatre workshops and performances to give the individuals they work with a positive, empowering experience. This includes a project proposal for Theatre of the Oppressed Workshops with people in the Long Grass. Basic theatre skills program for young Indigenous women, a theatre group for seniors as well as a Sole Parent Group that will develop their stories into an ‘art work’, potentially performative, for a local festival in May. The same festival has asked us to workshop a street theatre

program to develop a concept for a street parade during their activities.

As you can probably assume from this very brief outline, there is a great need and interest for Theatre in the N.T. Especially in regards to projects that benefit members of the community who otherwise do not have access to arts-based activities.

I value the learning that can happen when you work with other facilitators and the new ideas and skills they can contribute so I am looking forward to you coming and hoping we can discuss your role here further. I am expecting that by mid year we may need someone with an outsiders perspective to bring ideas into the devising process for the arts access group and am sure we will find other ways you can contribute.

If you have any ideas for a project you may be interested in facilitating while you are here, feel free to send those through. Everything is funding-permitted but we are always open to new proposals… I am very much interested in hearing what particularly interests you and which part of the theatre process you

are most inspired by.

I look forward to speaking to you again soon

Sarah Hope,

Darwin Community Arts