8 October 2018

Goulburn hosts theatre for social change festival

| Maryann Weston
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Lieder Theatre Director ChrisJohn Hancock – the Goulburn theatre company will be collaborating with Poland’s Teatr Brama to stage a ‘theatre for social change’ festival and conference in Goulburn later this month. Photo: Maryann Weston.

Create, collaborate, discuss, engage, network, share…these are the words describing the upcoming Polish and Australian-hosted theatre festival and conference Periphery which will be held in Goulburn from 19-21 October.

Coordinated by Goulburn’s independent community theatre company, the Lieder Theatre, Periphery is being billed as ‘theatre for social change’ and brings together the learnings from an EU funded four-year theatre program Caravan Next which focused on social community theatre.

Polish theatre company Teatr Brama delivered the Caravan Next project which aimed to address the global migration into Europe and the diversity of cultures it brought.

Caravan Next really asks us to think in a positive way that we really are all a community of souls and that sharing culture and ways of life can help integration, potentially of a new world,” Lieder Theatre Director ChrisJohn Hancock said.

“The project used theatre for change and connectivity. Art and theatre were used to promote community empowerment. Caravan Next rethinks theatre as a process of meeting and exchange. It breaks down the barriers of the elite theatre world.”

ChrisJohn has recently returned from a theatre festival Human Mosaic in Poland, hosted by Teatr Brama. The festival was one of the many cultural events developed through the Caravan Next program.

“Teatr Brama is a small theatre company in Goleniow which has a population of about 25,000. It was established about 20 years ago and is a magnet for the disengaged and disenfranchised. It really has created extraordinary stuff,” he said.

“Around 400 artists from across the world converged on Goleniow for this 10-day festival which was extraordinary. There were shadow puppetry and aerial artists performing with the whole community in a live presentation of Pink Floyd’s The Wall which highlighted the theme of the festival, breaking down barriers.

“It was all about connecting with the community, and it gave opportunities for everyone to take part.”

These same themes and focus will be brought to Periphery in Goulburn. The weekend program includes workshops, discussions, keynote speakers, masterclasses and performances. Community organizations, theatre practitioners and interested individuals are invited to attend the weekend festival and conference program.

“Teatr Brama will be sharing their learnings and social community theatre. The weekend festival and conference are all about using theatre in different ways to involve and engage people.”

The Lieder Theatre’s Monochrome will be performed at the Periphery festival and conference. This production won multiple awards in an international community theatre festival in Venice, Florida earlier this year. Photo: courtesy of the Lieder Theatre.

There will be three performances over the weekend including the Lieder’s own Monochrome which received multiple awards earlier this year at a world community theatre forum in the US, a culminating performance of Periphery and Teatr Brama’s Ghost Dance which was developed as part of Caravan Next.

Ghost Dance looks at the mistreatment of Native American Indians by the settlers, and also politically motivated democratic structures,” ChrisJohn said.

“There are parallels with what is occurring in the US at the moment. Ghost Dance empowers people to explore their options within the community and connect with people.”

The Lieder has already been in touch with regional and Canberra theatre and arts groups who are interested in participating in the festival and conference; however, the weekend is open to all community organizations, as well as interested individuals.

“I think the weekend will be amazing and incredibly inspiring and informative.”

Periphery opens with an acrobatic fire show on Friday night ahead of the conference on Saturday and Sunday. Theatre performances will be held on Saturday night and masterclasses with Teatr Brama founder Daniel Jacewicz will feature over both Saturday and Sunday. The weekend culminates with a combined Teatr Brama and Lieder production, Periphery on Sunday at 5 pm.

Tickets are on sale for the community theatre event, either for the full weekend festival and conference, or daily attendance. Visit the Lieder Theatre on Facebook for more information.

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