How verbatim theatre can keep history alive

In retelling the long and often bitter campaign for gay law reform in Tasmania, the new production ‘The Campaign’ not only preserves history, it helps ensure its survival.
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Rodney Croome was one of many LGBTI activists arrested at Salamanca Markets in late 1988. Photo credit: Roger Lovell.

Foodie heaven, Hobart’s Salamanca Market comes to life every Saturday as tourists and locals alike swarm in search of everything from organic foods to handmade craft, clothing, books and cheese.

But in late 1988, the Market witnessed activity of a very different kind, as police made more than 100 arrests over several months, in response to members of the Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group flouting a council ban on a stall featuring petitions to decriminalise homosexual activity.

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Richard Watts is ArtsHub's National Performing Arts Editor; he also presents the weekly program SmartArts on community radio station Three Triple R FM, and serves as the Chair of La Mama Theatre's volunteer Committee of Management. Richard is a life member of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, and was awarded the status of Melbourne Fringe Festival Living Legend in 2017. In 2019 he was awarded the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards' Facilitator's Prize. Most recently, Richard was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Green Room Awards Association in June 2021.

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