The simulcast of Wesley Enoch’s powerful play was followed up by a two-week roadshow of workshops to all the schools who participated in or watched the simulcast.
QTC’s Producer, Education and Youth Programs, Heidi Irvin said, ‘Overall the roadshow was a great success—not only as a follow up toBlack Diggers but as a “reintroduction” to the regions for our touring program in 2015 and a demonstration of QTC’s commitment to Queensland as a state.’
Teacher Judith Thrupp continued, ‘There is no doubting that the power that live theatre produces can never be replicated through the screen.
‘However, last night was as close to this experience as one could imagine—the shared laughter and the silences and the explosion of applause at the conclusion, applause that continued on and on as the cast returned for their bows. Even though we knew the cast weren’t actually able to hear us, we were undaunted as an audience and gripped by the power of “almost” live theatre.’
Black Diggers focuses on the untold stories of indigenous men who enlisted to fight in war, even though at the time, indigenous people were banned by the government from serving in the military, unable to vote and uncounted in any census.
The tour covered Charters Towers, Townsville, Mount Isa, Cairns, Rockhampton, Gladstone, Mt Larcom, Emerald, Blackwater, Bundaberg and Gin Gin.
It took in 16 secondary schools, holding 21 workshops with 562 students participating and one professional development workshop for educators.
The final word goes to Jenny Napier, teacher at Proserpine State High School: ‘What can I say? Thank you. Thank you for bringing a workshop experience that was intellectually rigorous, highly engaging and overwhelmingly positive. This (together with the simulcast) will be an experience my students and I will always remember.’
Simulcast and workshop tour was funded by the Queensland Government through the Anzac Centenary Coordination Unit. Further support for regional school engagement was generously provided by Sibelco.