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The Bard brings new hope to Northcott

Following the successful Sticky Bricks art project in 2006, and then the loss of creative directors Big Hart and Community Development Officer Dominic Grenot, as well as highly valued Crime Prevention Officer Brett Degenhardt – all in the space of a few weeks – the tenants at Northcott Estate experienced something of a void reports Andrew Collis in the December 2007 edition of the South Sydney Herald.

Charmaine Jones, a trainer with the Central Sydney North Regional Tenant Resource Service, and member of the Surry Hills Public Tenants Association (SHPTA), recalls a despondent period, and then a concerted effort to think positively.

The idea of staging something by Shakespeare arose out of observations in the life of the Northcott community. “We’d remark that certain events reminded us of scenes from King Lear, or that certain people reminded us of characters from Hamlet or Romeo and Juliet. So we thought, why not do Shakespeare?” Ms Jones recalls.

“We’ll actually present excerpts from various plays,” says Ms Jones, who will be the Artistic Director of the show. “Some of the sketches will be in Shakespearean language, and some will be reworked in a more Northcottian language!”

A new Community Development Worker has been appointed to Northcott. Catherine Carr, who is on a yearly contract but without a working budget, has organised funding for the new project by way of a City of Sydney Cultural Grants Scheme. The Belvoir St Theatre has promised support and professional guidance, and further sponsorships are sought.

“We’re hoping to get local students involved,” Ms Jones says. “High school students, as well as those from the Australian College of Television and Theatre, the School of Sound Engineering, the Actors’ Centre in Devonshire Street. I’m thinking that some kind of buddy system would be good.”

The show will take place on April 21 at the Belvoir. SHPTA is planning a big promotion for the project during the 3 Days in December community event this month (December 3-5).

Pre-production will commence after the summer holidays.

“I’m feeling excited, and looking forward to it,” Ms Jones says. “It will be organised chaos, but we’re used to that at Northcott!”

Photo: Andrew Collis: Members of the Surry Hills Public Tenants Association make plans for 3 Days in December

Source: South Sydney Herald December 2007