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Symposium on Indigenous Screen Performance

CHANGING ROLES:  A Symposium on Indigenous Performance

The symposium recognises the outstanding contribution that Indigenous writers, directors and actors are making to Australian film, television and theatre with a particular focus on Redfern Now, The Gods of Wheat St  and Tim Winton's The Turning.  Participants include Leah Purcell, Tony Birch, Jon Bell and Jub Clerc who have multiple credits as writers, directors and/or actors. The aim of the symposium is to open up a conversation on how roles are changing for Indigenous actors on screen, and how Indigenous writers, directors, actors and producers work together to create a performance. The symposium will be followed on Tuesday 11 November by the presentation of the Kate Challis RAKA Award for the best film or television script by an Indigenous writer over the last 5 years.

Date / Time: Monday 10 November 2014 - 10.30am - 4.30pm
VenueStudio 1, Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) Federation Square, Melbourne

Program / Monday 10 November 2014

We are honoured to be hosting Jack Charles, Leah Purcell, Aaron Pedersen, Jon Bell and Jub Clerc whose prolific work as actors, writers and directors is transforming Australian film, theatre and television, winning national and international acclaim, and putting Indigenous stories front and centre stage.

This symposium  acknowledges the outstanding body of work being produced by creative networks of Indigenous producers, writers, directors and actors. It asks how Indigenous roles and identities are being transformed through Indigenous creative control, with particular reference to feature films such as Mystery Road, and television drama series such as The Circuit, Redfern Now and The Gods of Wheat St. It looks at Indigenous participation in projects such as the Tim Winton anthology series, The Turning, and it considers the importance of place and community, as well as craft and technique, in the production of Indigenous performances.  


SESSION 1: 11am-1pm
In Conversation with Jack Charles, Aaron  Pedersen and Leah Purcell , chaired by Janina Harding

This panel brings together veteran theatre actor, activist and elder, Jack Charles, with Aaron Pedersen , whose stellar 20-year career began in television with Heartland and Wildside,  and writer-actor-director, Leah Purcell, who made her mark with the stage play, Box the Pony, after a stint presenting music videos on cable TV. The wealth of talent and experience on this panel is evident in their recent credits which include Jack Charles and Aaron Pedersen on screen together in Ivan Sen’s Mystery Road, and Leah Purcell writing, directing and acting in series 1 and 2 of Redfern Now.

LUNCH: 1-2pm

SESSION 2: 2-4pm
In Conversation with Jon Bell and Jub Clerc, chaired by Sue Brooks
This panel brings together Jon Bell (currently on ABC TV in Black Comedy, writer on Redfern Now and writer/co-producer of Australian TV’s first magical realist family drama set on the north coast of NSW, The Gods of Wheat St)  and writer, director, actor and casting agent, Jub Clerc who has worked on a number of Western Australian productions (including Jandamarra’s War and Satellite Boy)  before writing and directing the episode ‘Abbreviation’ in The Turning). Their work allows the symposium to consider the significance of  place and community in the performance and transformation of Indigenous roles and identities on screen.


This symposium has been generously funded by Victoria University and the Centre for Creative Arts at La Trobe University with the  support of the Australian Centre for the Moving Image and the  Indigenous Arts program at the City of Melbourne.

photo credit

"Dogs Of War" - source:

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