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Tim Wins For Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA
Labor Council of NSW
Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA, in cooperation with AusAID's East Timor Community Assistance Scheme and UNICEF, is proud to have supported East Timor's inaugural retreat for young East Timorese theatre performers, 'Opening the Curtains to Theatre in East Timor', August 22 - 28, 2005 in Maubara on Timor's north coast.
The project brought together approximately 75 young people from various theatre groups around East Timor with international artists from Australia, for a seven day theatre skill-share retreat in Dare. The main aims of the project were for participants to develop their practical and administrative skills, share their experiences, and devise a collective strategy for the development of the theatrical arts in East Timor.
Theatre has flourished in East Timor since independence with more than 10 theatre groups being formed over the 3-year period. Theatre has proved to be a successful way for people to tell their stories, an effective tool to educate communities, and has provided entertainment for thousands of people around the country. At present there are three key theatre groups in East Timor, and one of them is Bibi Bulak which is based in Dili. This group works in the theatre, film, radio and music sector, and has a primarily public education focus. The company regularly tours the districts of East Timor and runs a training school from its base. Recent topics that Bibi Bulak have explored through drama include domestic violence, gender equality, the environment, and HIV/AIDs.
'Opening the Curtains to Theatre in East Timor' is a significant step in creating a collective strategy for the development of the performing arts sector in East Timor.
Robyn Waite and Annie Sloman, theatre teacher of the theatre group Bibi-Bulak, established the retreat after concerns from theatre groups across East Timor about the lack of networking and skills development opportunities available to them.
The retreat aimed to provide a forum for the East Timorese theatre groups to share their skills, stories and cultures with one another, and to create strong local and international networks.
Union Aid Abroad - APHEDA's executive officer, Peter Jennings said, "the East Timor performing arts scene is still in the early stages of development, so this retreat will be a unique opportunity for these theatre performers to shape the future of creative arts in their country".
Five visiting Australian artists led a series of skills workshops, discussions, film screenings and work-in-progress performances over the week.
On August 28, 2005 the participants of the retreat held a public performance of their final creative works at the Maubara marketplace. The Bibi-Bulak theatre group also performed a theatre piece called Ikan Boot.
For a full list of Union Aid Abroad's East Timor projects, visit www.apheda.org.au.
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