Tag Archives: Theatreworks

The Art & Soul of it

Painting by Richard Morrison
Painting by Richard Morrison with Jim Lee

Text & images by Kerrie Pacholli

St Kilda, considered the jewel of Port Phillip, has always been synonymous with multi-layered cultures, music, theatre, art and artists.

However, along the way St Kilda lost its ability to attract and nurture its rising creatives.

St Kilda was cleaned up. Became gentrified.  The toilet block at the well known indigenous meeting place ‘Koori Park’ was torn down and the the tribe was forced to scatter. Property prices skyrocketed and financial and property investors reigned supreme.  The local council became one of the richest in Melbourne and the well-to-do believed they held the key to St Kilda’s rising prosperity and glory.

Today when one takes a stroll down the sunset side of Fitzroy Street you got to wonder WTF happened?  Bucket loads of taxpayer’s money has been spent on road infrastructure to accommodate the projected masses flooding into St Kilda as a result of the clean up and  gentrification and yes parking, car manoeuvrability  and business has been severely impeded.

Regardless of its unique and beautiful seascape, St Kilda has became known as a bi-law trap, whether on the roads or in the venues where noise is policed to what many consider unreasonable and unrealistic proportions.  Without doubt many performing artists and the businesses that accommodated them have little reason to feel confident in being facilitated to reach full potential.

Singer / songwriter Lisa Wood
Singer / songwriter Lisa Wood part of “Tribute to Women” at St Luja 

A number of years ago local creatives with countercultural persuasions, living and working in St Kilda, started to look at ways to do their bit to save St Kilda’s diverse cultural expression and keep the streets alive and pumping. These guys were not property owners, nor did they have ties to local council or government. They battled along with their personal desires, inspirations and imaginations.  Eventually a move was made to activate their collective visions and The St Kilda Arts Community was formed.

Espy 2017 St Kilda Comedy Club was reborn
Espy and the St Kilda Comedy Club was reborn. Cj Fortuna, Andrew Goodone, Brad Oakes & Dave O’Neil.

Its founding members were remaining creatives working in isolated pockets throughout St Kilda who came together for the greater good. A new collective movement was ignited and the first St Kilda Art Crawl  happened, followed by two more.

The Victorian Minister for the Arts was approached by representatives of this newly formed Arts Community and unquestioningly acknowledged the need and potential on offer and gave his official thumbs up. Local council also followed suit with some practical and moral support.  The Alex Theatre and the not yet refurbished Espy opened its doors and rallied with moral and practical support, Slowly the local business owners, who were somewhat fiscally strained, started to take note although at first non-committal and wary. Many local artists and galleries on the other hand were given renewed enthusiasm, sensing the energy shift and the potential that comes with it.

Simon Barnett, Martin Foley & Mick Pacholli
Simon Barnett, Martin Foley & Mick Pacholli 

A collective vibe throughout the arts community started to rise and ‘art happenings’ in the lesser known art hubs in St Kilda started to be acknowledged and illuminated by the Arts Community for their efforts.

The thing is, artists are workers who deserve a decent income. Their creative and artistic enterprises deserve to be held in high esteem and celebrated.  History shows this is what nourishes community.

Robert Mate Mate performing Theatreworks 1992
Robert Mate Mate performing at Theatreworks 1992 image by Russell Cooper.

To quote Robert Mate Mate, a much loved friend who passed on many years ago…

“Politics breeds combat ability whereas art and culture breeds compatibility.”

The choice is ours.

Symmetry’s Shadows Exhibition launch 22 – 24 Sept hosted by St Kilda Art Crawl

 Location: Christ Church St Kilda (Anglican), 14 Acland st. St Kilda. 160+year old building.

Curatorial notes:

“We have to remember that what we observe is not nature herself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning.” – Werner Heisenberg.

It seems humanity is stuck on repeat cycle, spinning round and round with no real clue as to the true nature of things.

Symmetry cannot be broken since all events are one with the cycle of birth, life, death and resurrection. This is one of the many truths of our existence.

It is apparent that through symmetry, the Hidden and the Un-seen shape our daily reality. Or; on a deeper level, the collective experience referred to as living.

Time to Re-Invent Life through ART.

by Marko Maglaic

Poster design by Christine Ritter (Westside Circus) / Theatreworks
Poster design by Christine Ritter (Westside Circus / Theatreworks) 
Co Curator's Rina Ritter (Theatreworks) with contributing artist Marko Maglaic at St Kilda Anglican Church image by Kerrie Pacholli © pationpics.com
Co Curator’s Rina Ritter (Theatreworks) with contributing artist Marko Maglaic at St Kilda Anglican Church image by Kerrie Pacholli © pationpics.com


Contributing Artists : Marko Maglaic ~ Visual Artist

Andrew Hustwaite ~ Visual Artist & Sculptor

Glenn A. Cannon ~ Published Author

Jackie Ralph ~ Artist & Sculptor

Anthony Breslin ~ Visual Artist

Phil Voodoo ~ Visual Artist

Michael Blamey ~ Photographer

Emmanuel Santos ~ International Photographer

Cal the Stoner ~ Sculptor & Stone Mason

Including special guest musicians, fire spinning and circus performers

Hosted by St Kilda Anglican Church in association with St Kilda Art Crawl (SKAC)

Sponsor of pationpics.com
Sponsor of pationpics.com




Robert Mate Mate and Reconciliation

For a number of years  I had the privilege of working  with Robert Mate Mate, an Indigenous elder from Woorabinda with strong connections to Palm Island.

Our creative journey started in 1993 when Robert invited me to accompany him to Palm Island,  a closed Indigenous community 57 km off the coast of Townsville.

He was invited to attend an official celebration on Palm Island for the Year of Reconciliation which was also attended by Robert Tickner the Indigenous Affairs minister at that time.

Behind the scenes Robert Mate Mate was also invited to perform a spirit releasing ceremony for a young Palm Islander named Wangung who died 120 years prior. and who’s remains had been returned to his place of birth.

In the 1890’s Wangung was lured away  and made to perform in a travelling circus. His remains were discovered in Cleveland, Ohio.

Our party consisted of Robert, myself, his 11 year old son Free and Dalmazio Babare who was then percussionist with the MSO. We stayed on the beach of Mundi Bay, a remote and uninhabited part of the Island where Wangung grew up.  It was a magnificent and powerful place and the experience was very transformative.

In 1994 – 95 under the working title “Woorabinda Berrigaba Dreamtime Aboriginal Productions”, Robert and I went on to produced three cultural theatre productions that combined story telling and myths with music and dance.

A number of  years prior to 1993,  Robert Mate Mate was released from prison where he had spent over 15 years behind bars, 10 years in the cages of Queensland’[s notorious Boggo Road prison. 

During his incarceration the Aboriginal myths and stories he learnt as a child led him to  study genealogy, Greek mythology, Druidism,  Astronomy, Carl Jung and the Bible.

At the end of his life aged 42, Robert Mate Mate was an accomplished  storyteller, teacher and messenger with an enormous capacity to inspire and educate people from all cultures.

In memory and celebration of Robert Mate Mate also know as Gapingaru (crescent moon).

Robert Mate Mate at Theatre Works in St Kilda as part of his first theatre production 'Tirlpa'. Photo by Russell Cooper
Robert Mate Mate at Theatre Works in St Kilda as part of his first theatre production ‘Tirlpa’. Photo by Russell Cooper.