The alliance between First Nations and Non-First Nations practitioners in Australian mainstream intercultural theatre rehearsal practice: “Our shared past does not have to be our shared future” – Uncle Clyde Rigney 2018
Within the current climate of the Australian arts industry, cultural and personal safety within arts practice for artists and creative teams is beginning to be questioned. How do we create a more culturally inclusive, ethically aware, informed and safe rehearsal spaces for the creation of First Nations intercultural theatre in 21 Century Australia? My recent research emerges at a time when more First Nations stories are being produced in the mainstream theatrical arena and asks: what steps do we need to incorporate within the present policies and frameworks of the mainstream theatre Industry to bridge that gap, decolonise and redistribute the efficacy of power balance between dominant theatre culture and First Nations artists?
Redefinition is possible through the promotion of a type of storytelling that combines correct cultural processes and protocols, cultural integrity and First Nations ideology and ontology. Relationship and the development of trust is key, combined with ethical and respectful accountability by the production companies who program them. Responsibility for change concerns everyone. Acknowledgement of responsibility for their cultural bias, privilege, positioning and behaviour is necessary to support a creative environment of generative and diverse impact; to lead to potential growth for understanding through equanimity and equality pre, during and post rehearsal. Arts emanate from the society of which they are a part, and as such they can be a reflection of that society, mirroring its constant state of change and evolution. I believe this research and my sharing of its findings, stories and humanity, helps to be part of that change from the grass roots; shining light into dark places and offering hope through informed knowledge in the creation processes of Australian First Nations intercultural theatre.
Kirsty Reilly is a performing arts practitioner/educator who has over thirty-three years professional experience nationally and internationally as a teacher, theatre director, choreographer, movement director, theatre maker and performing artist. She also works as an educator/mentor in acting institutions (NIDA), film and television training studios, universities, theatre companies and schools. A Non-First Nations researcher and scholar, she has a B.Ed, Post graduate degree from NIDA and has currently undertaken a PhD at Deakin University researching the alliance between First Nations and non-First Nations culture in Australian mainstream theatre rehearsal practice, whilst maintaining her professional practice and raising her Ngarrindjeri/Wathaurong Aboriginal biological children.