Reflecting on Artistic Collaboration – Campion Decent and Matt Scholten, Duologue 2017
Campion Decent and Matt Scholten were one of our duos for the 2017 Duologue Program. The Duologue Program supported their artistic collaboration on a new work called The Campaign.Campion is now looking forward to the world premiere of his new play at the Salamanca Arts Centre in October later this year. We asked Campion how his collaboration with Matt impacted his new work.
The Work – The Campaign
In 1988 more than one hundred arrests were made at Salamanca Market when the Tasmanian Gay Law Reform Group defied a ban on a stall that featured petitions to decriminalise sexual activity between consenting adult males in private. The arrests lit the spark for a campaign to change a law in Tasmania that was the most draconian in the Western world in terms of its penalty and, by the time of its repeal, the last of its kind in Australia.
From candid interviews with the people who were there, Campion Decent has fashioned a gripping account of Tasmania’s decades-long gay law reform campaign; the venomous parliamentary debates and public meetings, the individual acts of bravery and humour amidst the hurt, and the dogged march to a landmark United Nations ruling that had far-reaching repercussions in the Federal and Tasmanian Parliaments and the High Court of Australia.
Honest, raw and urgent, The Campaign chronicles Tasmania’s journey from exclusion to inclusion, from opposition to acceptance, and from hatred to embrace.
The Artistic Collaboration
The first meeting was used to discuss the parameters of the project, and plan the research and interviewing phase. The second meeting was convened in Hobart to conduct research and interviews. Finally, we met in Sydney to consider the first draft of The Campaign and to continue the creative and dramaturgical conversation.
We were fortunate to be able to attract considerable further support to the project using PWA’s initial investment as leverage. For example, our visit to Hobart was augmented/extended when Tasmanian Theatre Company, Blue Cow Theatre and Salamanca Arts Centre variously contributed accommodation costs, LAHA, ground transport and meeting facilities to the project. This collaboration also secured a commissioning fee for Campion to complete the project in a properly funded capacity.
The ongoing support of these partners culminated in the announcement on 28 February 2018 that The Campaign will receive its world premiere in October at Salamanca Arts Centre. As part of the play’s further development, we also held a script workshop in Hobart in June 2018.
The partnership opportunity provided through PWA’s Duologue program was invaluable. It not only allowed us to kickstart and continue our creative conversation, but also to build further support and infrastructure around the project. Thank you team PWA.
The Campaign by Campion Decent
Directed by Matt Scholten
Presented by Tasmanian Theatre Company and Blue Cow Theatre in association with If Theatre and Salamanca Arts Centre
28 October – 3 November 2018