Message from Associate Vice-Chancellor Dr John Ballard: In March of this year I met with Ms Mary Campbell, Relations Coordinator, Institute for Advancing Community Engagement and Ms Diane Charleson Senior Lecturer, Arts & Sciences to consider their support of a proposal for ACU to participate in the Gertrude Street Light Festival in July of this year. This could be achieved through our support of the work of David Nguyen, the Artistic Director of Uprising Theatre, to stage a performance on campus titled The Wheel of Fate.
The festival is a highly successful event that exudes creativity and community engagement in its broadest sense. I have been keen to find a way that ACU can participate, and in so doing, draw people up the laneways to our campus. This was a perfect fit. David attended our next meeting to outline his proposal. He is young, charismatic and passionate about the empowerment of those experiencing disadvantage. He explained that Uprising Theatre is an innovative theatre company creating work with diverse young people living in and around the public housing estates in Melbourne's inner-north. His processes are collaborative and participant driven while working with professional artists towards high quality outcomes. The participants are supported to think critically, and reflect upon the cultural milieu within which they live and how to derive relevance and meaning in their lives and community.
The Wheel of Fate is a mobile multimedia performance that explores our assumptions about each other and confronts us with their consequences. It shares powerful narratives of the lives of young people who live at the margins of mainstream society and are seldom heard. It is a large-scale participatory project involving culturally-diverse young people from three Melbourne suburbs: Fitzroy, Werribee and Dandenong.
The performance utilises cutting edge mobile LED projector technology, allowing edgy and confronting stories to be played out in public spaces – streets, alleys, car parks – not traditionally used as performance spaces. Audience members are drawn into the narrative, recruited by the characters to follow their journeys and participate in deciding their fates.
I was particularly keen for ACU to be a part of this venture and we are a sponsor of the project. I encourage you to visit the performance this coming Saturday 23 July and Sunday 24 July from 7pm.