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Staging Stories: Contemporary Aboriginal Theatre

Four budding playwrights wrote and acted out a scene for a play during the first Staging Stories project workshop in Dubbo on 29 and 30 November.

The workshop was the first stage of the project aimed at giving regional Aboriginal people the opportunity to tell their unique contemporary stories through the medium of theatre.

The project is funded through the Regional Theatre Projects funding from Arts NSW.

Orana Arts Aboriginal Arts Officer, Melissa Ryan, said although the numbers for the first workshop were small it meant the participants worked very closely with the mentors, Latai Taumoepeau and Sopa Enari.

She said there would be further opportunity in late February for people who had missed the workshop to catch up.

‘There will be a one day intensive and then a weekend workshop to develop a ten minute play with the aim of having it performed in a regional theatre,’ Melissa said.

Playwriting Australia artistic director, Tim Roseman, said his organisation was excited at the possibilities that could develop through the project.

‘Partnering with Orana Arts gives us a unique opportunity to deliver our playwright training course in a regional community.

‘Our introductory workshop was a fun and accessible entry into storytelling structure and gave participants the chance to create a character, write dialogue and see it performed by actors.’

Tim said there was enormous potential for new talent to be uncovered through the project, and especially new voices and perspectives that were too often missing from Australian theatres.

Of Tongan heritage, Latai is a body-centred performance artist. She describes herself as a Punake – a composer of movement and poetry in the Tongan language. Sopa is a regular drama workshop presenter for Save the Children, PCYC and Playwriting Australia and is the current artist-in-residence with Griffin Theatre company under its inaugural cultural leadership.

Further information is available from the Orana Arts Aboriginal Arts Officer, Melissa Ryan on 0409 245 020.

The project is a partnership between Orana Arts, Fire Station Arts Centre, Performing Lines, Playwriting Australia, Eora College for Aboriginal Stories and Moogahlin Performing Arts.

With Orana Arts.