info I contact
editorial schedule
join the realtime email list
become a friend of realtime on facebook
follow realtime on twitter

magazine  archive  features  rt profiler  realtimedance  mediaartarchive



online e-dition may 22

in the loop: reconciling histories

national reconciliation week, seymour centre

Frank Nannup, Bindjareb Pinjarra Frank Nannup, Bindjareb Pinjarra
The Seymour Centre Sydney will be home to this year’s National Reconciliation Week with a range of performances, talks and concerts aiming “to raise awareness of the historical and contemporary stories and experiences of the first Australians” (website).

The centerpiece of the week is Bindjareb Pinjarra (presented by Pinjarra Project, Deckchair Theatre and Seymour Centre). In 1994, performers Kelton Pell, Geoff Kelso, Phil Thomson and Pinjarra man Trevor Shorty Parfitt created a performance highlighting the horrific events of the Pinjarra massacre in 1834. It is estimated that up to 150 Bindjareb Nyoongar people were slaughtered (only 21 of whom have been publicly named) during a survey of the Pinjarra area aimed at protecting the rights and property of the white setters. To this day the site is only listed as that of a battle (one white man died falling from his horse) rather than a massacre, nor is it officially named as a significant Aboriginal site. The only memorial so far is a virtual one—

In 2010, Pell, Kelso and Thomson (Parfitt has passed away) regrouped to share the work in oral tradition with three new performers, senior Pinjarra man Frank Nannup, Nyoongar actor Isaac Drandic and Wadjella (white fella) Sam Longley. While the subject matter is dark, the resulting performance is far from grim. In a review of the 2010 show Suzanne Spunner wrote, “The ensemble of six male actors are all agile performers and accomplished improvisers and very funny too, because this play about a massacre is presented as a comedy with a black undercurrent. The humour is always deadly serious. The actors play across age, class and race and play they do so that all the stereotypes are well worked over for comic effect. Its great strength is the depth of story it tells and the quality of the tale tellers.” (RT online exclusive May 24, 2010)

Bronwyn Bancroft, Falling Through Time (2012) Bronwyn Bancroft, Falling Through Time (2012)
courtesy the artist
Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Co-operative are overseeing the exhibition component of Reconciliation week, titled Winds of Change. It will feature works by a range of prominent Indigenous artists such as Bronwyn Bancroft, Euphemia Bostock, Jenny Fraser, Graham Toomey and Wayne Quillia. The organisation will also hold a charity auction on May 26 at the Boomalli gallery to help raise funds to continue operations. Indigenous and non-indigenous artists are invited to donate artworks, $300 in value, for sale at the event. See

NSW Reconciliation Council and All Together Now are opening up a discussion on discrimination with their panel titled "I’m not racist but…" which will see Race Discrimination Commissioner ?Dr. Helen Szoke, Fear of a Brown Planet's Nazeem Hussain, UN Youth Ambassador Benson Saulo and comedian Jennifer Wong in hot debate hosted by ABC Radio National journalist Steve Cannane. Australian Theatre for Young People will also create a space for discussion around the playmaking process with their a work-in-progress reading of Katherine, a new play by Rachael Coopes and Wayne Blair looking at the life of a teenager in the Top End.

Add to these performances by Casey Donovan in the Sound Lounge and free live music by Marcus Corowa and Jess Beck at the Reconciliation Party and there are plenty opportunities to reflect on Australia’s troubled history as well as celebrate the potential for more positive relations between Indigenous and non-indigenous Australians in the future.

National Reconciliation Week 2012: Pinjarra Project,, May 26-June 2, 10.30am & 7.30pm (Sat May 26 National Sorry Day & Sat June 2 special Community offer - quote the promotional code "COMMUNITY" to receive $8 off ticket price); Casey Donovan, May 30, 8pm; I’m not racist but…, May 31, 7:30pm; ATYP, Katherine, June 1, 1pm & 6.30pm; Reconciliation Party, June 1, 7.30pm; Seymour Centre, Sydney, May 26-June 2;

Bindjarb Pinjarra will also be presented at the Campbelltown Arts Centre, May 25, 2pm and 8pm,, and in Melbourne by ILBIJERRI Theatre Company and Footscray Community Arts Centre at their Performance Space, June 13 -16;

RealTime issue #108 April-May 2012 pg. web

© RealTime ; for permission to reproduce apply to [email protected]

Back to top