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MORE than 1000 people are expected to visit the Block, Redfern, to experience multi-art, site specific performance work over the next three nights writes Robert Burton-Bradley in Central of 28th May 2008.

Called Gathering Ground 2: History, Ceremony, Protest, the event is a collaboration between PACT Theatre and the Redfern Community Centre that encourages focal youth to participate in performance and installation art.

PACT Theatre co-director Kate Therese said she struck on the idea for Gathering Ground after she first visited the block a few years ago and saw its potential for use as a significant site.

"When I went to the Block I was quite scared and that made me question why I have these thoughts and feelings, particularly because I grew up in a stigmatised area myself, Mt Druitt," Ms Therese said.

"I really questioned what the media said about the Block.

"There was also this great space with so much history and significance and an amazing community centre."

In the five weeks leading up to the event, 50 young people participated in workshops run by Legs on the Wall, Erth and other established and emerging artists in hip hop, aerial work, stilt walking, puppetry and film.

The project had success in its first run in 2006 but Ms Therese said this year's involvement from local youth had tripled.

"We wanted to empower the kids with the history of the area and their past - I noticed that a lot of the kids said they did not actually know that much," she said.

"I also wanted to bring people from non-indigenous backgrounds and expose them and the locals to each other."

Gathering Ground starts on Thursday night and runs until Saturday. As the sun sets, groups will be guided through the Block and taken. on a journey designed to inspire and give hope.

Broken wails, empty buildings and spaces will become sites of ritual, spectacle, action, video, music, sound and story.

They will work collaboratively with the artists using their new skills and ideas to bring stories of the Block to life.

The stories will be drawn from aboriginal elders and members of the local community.

To experience Gathering Ground contact PACT Theatre at .

Organisers have asked people meet at the entrance to Lawson Street, opposite Redfern Station.

Photo Phil Rogers: Local children rehearse for Gathering Ground at the Block, Redfern.

Source: Courier Central 28th May 2008