Gathering Ground 2010 : Timelessness Past, Present and Future
For the third time running, the Block in Redfern came alive on Friday May 30, for Gathering Ground 2010. Titled: Timelessness, past and present’, the event was a multi-act site specific performance planned to run across three evenings. The rain joined the party, changing the plan, but the audience was blessed on the Friday night by the appearance of a full moon over the Redfern sky, making the evening not short of magic. On that night there was a strong sense of cultural expression, a feeling of a central meeting place, where people had come to share in a story and feel at home. Fred Copperwaite, the Artistic Director, believes that there is a sense of connectedness, which makes Gathering Ground a success. He said: ‘The theme of timelessness connects everything, giving the audience a continual feeling of belonging as they go through. That is a sign of the success of the project.’ For Aunty Rhonda Dixon-Grovenor, a proud grandmother, the evening had a special significance as two generations of her family performed on the night. Her daughter Nadeena Dixon was the lead singer and performer for the aerial circus and her two granddaughters performed on apparatus. Her grandson, Marley, was the MC for the Redfern City Rockers, whose performance made the audience proud of the young B-boys. Healing through culture and the arts is the message displayed by Dixon-Grovenor and her women’s circle. Symbols, stories and texts were there to reinforce the importance of sharing cultures and soul to make the world a better place for women and their families.
Lily Shearer, Development Officer of the Redfern Community Centre, said: ‘There were many generations of families involved this year, keeping with the original ideas behind the development strategies initiated in 2004, which was to empower the Aboriginal people of Redfern and Waterloo to regain culture through art practices.’ Gathering Ground is about children performing and expressing pride in their cultures. And so they were, exhibiting talent, physical strength and cultural pride all through the various sites in a display of exuberance, fun and passion. This event also marks the rebirth of Black Theatre with the establishment of Mooghalin Performing Arts. It’s the first time in more than 25 years that a theatre based in Redfern is run by Aboriginal people.
Will Gathering Ground be repeated as a biennial event? Organisers, performers and the community value its importance and would like it to become a regular occurrence. However, it all depends on funding and both Shearer and Copperwaite are hopeful. Meanwhile, Shearer is putting her energies into a Redfern-based circus for kids and Copperwaite agrees. He said: ‘It’s important to pick something like the circus and harness it, instead of waiting for another two years. There are a whole lot of things going on and it’s about using your head and thinking we don’t want to stop the momentum.’ The magic lives on. Kate Williamson
Read more in South Sydney Herald July 2010 p. 11