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PARTY | PROTEST | REMEMBER to feature First Nations’ finest at Carriageworks

EVELEIGH: A free event at Carriageworks on November 12 will feature live performances, music, drag, weaving circles, installation, documentary screenings and a citizen’s assembly – bringing First Nations’ creativity and concerns to all who attend.

PARTY | PROTEST | REMEMBER celebrates the 50th anniversary of the founding of the National Black Theatre. Curated by Director of First Nations Programs, Jacob Boehme (Narangga/Kaurna), the program celebrates Blak excellence and spans live music, performance, drag, visual art and film, and will be kicked off with a citizen’s assembly led by author and Uluru Statement from the Heart campaigner Thomas Mayor.

For PROTEST, Thomas Mayor will lead a citizen’s assembly at 2pm focused on The Referendum Council’s call for a constitutionally entrenched First Nations Voice to Parliament through the Uluru Statement from the Heart. The assembly is open to all and will give the community the opportunity to present questions and engage in a participatory discussion with others about this historic event.

PARTY will then transform the precinct from 4pm, with an all-ages celebration of 50 years of First Nations’ excellence in the performing arts, including appearances by award winning actors Elaine Crombie, and Sandy Greenwood and the Carriageworks resident companies Contemporary Asian Australian Performance (CAAP), Performance Space and Sydney Chamber Opera. First Nations drag icon Nana Miss Koori will be MC for the evening and will perform alongside other drag queens including Josie Baker and Mariah Kenny on the drag stage. On the main stage, live music acts will perform including Nadeena Dixon and Izzy + Monks, as well as DJ sets by Benny Gold and Ebstar. On the experimental music stage curated by Carriageworks resident company Moogahlin Performing Arts, acts will include DJ sets by Gee Whiz and Troy Russell and Tim Gray. 

Director, First Nations Programs Jacob Boehme said: “PARTY is a celebration of 50 years of Blak Excellence in the performing arts. We celebrate the legacy of the National Black Theatre and a proud lineage of self-determined First Nations theatre makers, writers, actors, choreographers and artists. The birth of contemporary Blak theatre in Redfern is synonymous with the Black Power movement, Activism and Aboriginal Land Rights. Each artist curated in PARTY is a beneficiary of this legacy embodying the spirit of these trailblazing Elders through their craft, talent, voice and hope. We honour the Aunts and Uncs of yesterday who’ve made today possible, and we celebrate the artists we are working with at Carriageworks now and into the future.

“Besides, it’s been a crappy couple of years. Between floods, fires, plague and war (petrol prices and rate hikes) we all need a moment to let loose, connect and PARTY. And us Blackfullas know how to throw a party! Come shake ya mooms and celebrate with us. C’mon. Ya know ya wanna!”

Other highlights include an exhibition of ceramics, fashion and painting by the students from Solid Groundthe major initiative from Carriageworks and Blacktown Arts Centre which provides education, training and employment pathways for First Nations Australian youth in Redfern, Waterloo and Blacktown. Illustrated books written by Solid Ground students will be read out loud by actor Sandy Greenwood in her Drag King alter ego Jingo during Drag Storytime. There will also be weaving circles led by Aunty Karleen Green and Henrietta Baird where visitors can create a wearable object to take home, performances by Jannawi Dance Clan, Henrietta Baird’s new dance work Plant a Promise. Plus, expect some surprises as Carriageworks reveals the 2023 program with more artists to be announced.

Peta Strachan from Jannawi Dance Clan. Photo: Supplied

For REMEMBER, Darlene Johnson’s The Redfern Story will be playing on a loop throughout the evening. The documentary follows the efforts of the historic group who formed the National Black Theatre and brought the cause of First Nations peoples to public notice through activism and theatre, as a first step towards gaining land rights and better treatment. In a special performance, actor Angeline Penrith who grew up in Redfern during this time will perform a monologue from The Cake Man written by Bob Merritt and Here Comes the Nigger by Gerry Bostock, two seminal plays written by First Nations writers and performed at the National Black Theatre in the 1970s.

The drinks line-up will feature Aboriginal owned and led brand Sobah, Australia’s first non-alcoholic craft beer and an activation operated by Dhuwa, Australia’s first Indigenous owned and operated coffee brand. Warakirri by Indigiearth will be serving up dishes made using native ingredients including damper with native jam and wattleseed cream, kangaroo sliders, lemon myrtle squid with finger lime pearls and green ants, bush tomato, pumpkin and fetta quiche and crocodile salad.

Carriageworks CEO Blair French said, “The 2022 First Nations Program strengthens Carriageworks’ commitment to First Nations arts practices, culture and perspectives. This signals an exciting start of implementing First Nations governance throughout all levels of our organisation. We are thrilled to celebrate First Nations creativity and history across a diverse range of artforms. Our local area is an important site for First Nations ceremony, politics, arts and history and we look forward to continuing to deepen our local community relationships.”


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