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50 years of Black theatre shines a spotlight on the present and future

Jarred Cross -

The 50th anniversary of the National Black Theatre goes beyond a birthday, it's a reminder of Indigenous achievement in the arts sector and wider Australia and an opportunity to reflect on where it all came from and social attitudes today.

On Saturday the Carriageworks in Sydney's Redfern hosts PARTY | PROTEST | REMEMBER - a day-long celebration of Indigenous music, art, dance, food and culture.

It's apt placement, steps away from the streets where the theatre was born from the fires of First Nations activism.

Carriageworks' director of First Nations programs, Narangga-Kaurna man Jacob Boehme, said the half-century commemoration is a look back at the foundations and the long journey since.

"The National Black theatre was born on the streets, it was born out of protest, it was born out of trying to bring awareness about the issues that are affecting us as Aboriginal people in Australia, on our sovereign territory, to the broader public," he said.

"It's pertinent where we are right now, as a country, that those of us black fellas in the arts are reminded of that legacy and are reminded of those beginnings.

"It's also so we party and we celebrate all the achievements."

Mr Boehme said it's impossible to ignore the parallel lines of social and political conversation between then and now - the fight for a voice and opportunities in the arts - and wider national conversations around Voice and Treaty.

On Saturday afternoon Uluru Statement from the Heart campaigner Thomas Mayor will lead a citizens assembly focused on The Referendum Council's call for a constitutionally entrenched First Nations Voice to Parliament to kick things off.

Music from Nadeena Dixon and Izzy + Monks, DJ sets from Benny Gold, Ebstar, Gee Whiz and Troy Russell & Tim Gray follow with Moogahlin Performing Arts in tow.

Jannawi Dance Clan will take take the stage at Carriagworks on Saturday. image provided

Art, theatre pieces, dance and cultural weaving showcases all feature in the celebration.

Angeline Penrith. image provided

Homegrown First Nations food and drink companies are set to fill the stomachs of those in attendance.

Redfern local Angeline Penrith will share monologues from seminal plays.

Indigenous drag icon Nana Miss Koori will MC the event.

Mr Boehme wants people to walk away "understanding a little bit more about the history of where they've just stood, and where they've had a drink and they've had a feed".

PARTY | PROTEST | REMEMBER takes over Carriageworks on Saturday November 12 from 2pm.


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