Big Hart

A note from Robyn Archer

Big hART has been working with outsider culture in Australia for a very long time, during which it has been the very model of community cultural development.

The company has always insisted on the excellence of its product and the health and authenticity of its process and this combination has distinguished its practice as the very best of its kind.

Individuals and communities as a whole have benefited in real terms from a hands-on involvement with the arts in their forms, while at the same time major international festival events such as the ones I had the privilege to direct (Canberra, Adelaide, Melbourne, Ten Days on the Island), benefited from the company’s presence in those programs. Big hART was a part of the National Festival of Australian Theatre (my first artistic director role) and then of every festival I directed. In an old warehouse in Adelaide (with Roger Woodward playing piano), in a vigil bed at the brand new not-yet opened Federation Square (with Kerry Armstrong giving quilt interviews) and in caravans at the remotest seaside places in Tasmania, once lost young people or communities re-defined themselves and through the arts, took heart.

The latest work Ngapartji Ngapartji continues this remarkable run and gives us stories of courage and love to live by – and at the same time has major festival directors all over the world paying attention and preparing invitations.

There’s no company I admire more in Australia.

Robyn Archer AO March 2008