Dorethea Randall Indigenous Residency


Darwin, Adelaide, Yirrkala, Gunbalunya, and Maningrida

Throughout 1994

This was the second Aboriginal Torres Strait Island Dancer in Residence program for Tracks and Dorethea Randall (see Dorethea Randall Indigenous Residency 1992)

Dorethea has also had major input into a number of initiatives made by local organisations with respect to developing future directions for:

  • An Aboriginal cultural centre in Darwin;
  • Cultural liaison officers;
  • Training programs;
  • General support programs, schools, arts organisations, communities.
  • Performance opportunities for urban and remote community Aborigines.

Dorethea is greatly respected amongst Aboriginal people. They view her as a professional artist committed to developing ways of learning appropriate and acceptable to traditionally based Aborigines. She is also known for her promotion of a “both ways” learning.


For her 1994 program Dorethea was involved with several projects
SALT FIRE WATER, The Fringe Festival, Darwin and Writers Conference in Adelaide,
Dorethea was involved as choreographer and performer in a women’s project directed by Venetia Gillot in collaboration with Pia Ingrim, Allyson Mills, Joanna Barrkman, Maria Alice Casimiro Branco and Betchay Mondragon.  Salt, Fire And Water weaved together the journeys of the above women who come from different cultural backgrounds.  The work was performed in Darwin and travelled to Adelaide where it was shown as a work in progress at the Women’s Playwright Conference. As a performer and deviser, Dorethea  choreographed Aboriginal Spirit and worked collaboratively with artistic team to devise work

SACRED SPACE, major dance season, Brown’s Mart Theatre, September
Dorethea choreographed a new work for this season performed at Brown’s Mart Theatre - D DREAMING. From the Program notes:
The first piece is a solo related to myself in the spiritual world, where unseen figures are put into movement showing the relationship with the land, and the power it has:
“The silence of the bush taught me a quietness of the soul
that put me in touch with another world
the world of the spirit”
Dorethea Randall 1994
The second piece shows Spirits of the bush sending messages and magic to those who awake. The coming of a new world or life.
Second solo and poem. A dance of expression relating to my own space, of how my family feels today.
“As the sun slowly fades on the western horizon
It’s rays fire up the evening sky
The gentle breeze blow’in’cross the ocean
Slowly memories fade of those days gone by.”
Allan Randall 1993
Duet. An expression of freedom in space, and in sharing space.

Gathering Ground: Dorethea  performed to a song written by her father and sung by Allyson Mills was also a moving part of the evening.  “My Brown Skin Baby was Taken Away”.  Dorethea’s performance was an opportunity for Darwin audiences to see her own unique ‘fusion’ style of dance which incorporates both traditional Aboriginal movements with contemporary styles.

Dorethea attended the 1994 GREENMILL Conference, and ran workshops with Indigenous students at St John’s College, and Kormilda College. She had two one-week residencies at Gumbalunya, (Oenpelli), and Maningrida. She worked with Corrugated Iron Youth Theatre on their Both Ways project travelling to Yirrkala to do so.

At the end of the project she made the following recomendations


• Increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s self-respect and therefore respect among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through the arts.

• Encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander elders and role models to meet with young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to promote self-esteem with culture.

• Encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to seek a greater say in the decisions which affect us, regarding the arts.

• More Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be trained and employed in the Arts Industry in every community within the Northern territory.

• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people must have the right to self-government.

• That Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples accept and respect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of mixed heritage and not be prejudiced against them.

• That Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of colours and heritage develop cultural activities to break down the barriers of prejudice against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of mixed heritage.

• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and relationship to the land should be taught to all people.

• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be the ones to teach Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

• Our elders are often denied the right to teach our culture because they have been denied the right to live under the old laws and ways.

• Young people are scared to follow the traditional laws and ways because elders do not teach us.

Young people ask if the doorway can be open from the elders for ways that young can learn about themselves, culture, to reclaim the past.

Tracks Dance Collective 1994

Collective Members: Sarah Calver, David McMicken, Tim Newth, Berenice Franklin, Lisa Campbell
Brown’s Mart Community Arts Dance Development Offices: Sarah Calver, David McMicken

[Under Brown's Mart Community Arts – Executive Officer Ken Conway]



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