National Conference on Reconciliation, Multiculturalism,Immigration and Human Rights

How we can dance while the earth is turning
A community Arts workshop

The Workshop

This workshop will look at how community arts and, in particular, performing arts can be utilised to assist the Reconciliation process focussing on identifying and utilising positive cross cultural energy.

Using The Torch Community Theatre Project as an example, participants will be encouraged to develop and design projects for their communities and, who knows, it could produce a mini event for the conference itself.

The Torch

The Torch is an extraordinary theatrical production with firm roots in indigenous and multi-cultural Australia, specifically the Yorta Yorta Land Council and newly arrived migrants and refugees.

Devised and performed with 100+ professional artists and supporters from over 30 nationalities, The Torch is a testament to the power and quality of community theatre.

It premiered to huge critical acclaim at Melbourne's Universal theatre in 1999 and had a sell-out return season at the North Melbourne Town hall in 2000,
The Torch is now into its fourth stage of development preparing to tour regional Victoria in 2001 working intensively with local communities. The Torch will engage members of the community in the analysing issues of race, culture and history with an overall aim to explore avenues for a positive future.

The Presenters

Project coordinator Steve Payne and 3 members of the company will present the workshop. Steve has 20+ years as a community arts activist, educator and project manager. He was a founding member of Melbourne Workers Theatre and his three most recent Community Theatre Projects are:

THE TORCH Theatre Project explores the Olympic Spirit and Australia's Ghosts
With the Bedford St Tenancy Service, The Brotherhood of St Lawrence, 3CR, the cities of Yarra and Melbourne, supported by the Yorta Yorta Lands Council, and auspiced by the Ecumenical Migration Centre. Cast of 50 performed at The Universal Theatre and North Melbourne Town hall.

MECHTRON Theatre project examined the Public Education system in Victoria.
With the Victorian Council of School Organisations, the Brotherhood of St Lawrence, the Australian Education Union and the City of Moreland. Cast of 24 performed at the Mechanics institute in Brunswick to critical and box office acclaim.

THE ESSENTIALS Theatre project explored a climate of fear­ at individual, organisational and State levels. The journey of this project revealed the reality of the play. Finally performed at Trades Hall to a sellout despite extending for an extra week. With the Ambulance Employees Association of Australia and auspiced by The Victorian Women's Refuge and Domestic Violence Service.


University of Technology, Sydney, 1-2 December 2000

Papers & Workshops