The Campaign

AAR Rodney Croome arrested at the Salamanca Market in 1988 - photo by Roger LovellTasmanian Theatre Company and Blue Cow Theatre, in association with if Theatre and Salamanca Arts Centre, have joined forces to present the world premiere of The Campaign – an important Tasmanian story about the campaign for gay law reform in the 1980s and 90s.

In 1988, more than one hundred arrests were made at Salamanca Market when the Tasmanian Gay Law Reform Group defied a ban on a stall that featured petitions to decriminalise sexual activity between consenting adult males in private. The arrests lit the spark for a campaign to change a law in Tasmania that was the most draconian in the Western world in terms of its penalty and, by the time of its repeal, the last of its kind in Australia.

Based on personal testimony, parliamentary transcripts, media reports, and archival sources from the people involved – including Rodney Croome, Nick Toonen and Christine Milne, award-winning playwright Campion Decent has fashioned a gripping account of Tasmania’s decades-long gay law reform campaign.

The Campaign is a story of community, of people working together for change,” said Decent. “I stand in awe of the courage and conviction of the people in this play, and the countless others who stood beside them in real life.”

The verbatim theatre form of The Campaign gives it an authenticity and direct link to the minutiae and personal stories behind the larger events: from the venomous parliamentary debates and public meetings to the individual acts of bravery and humour amidst the hurt; and the dogged march to a landmark United Nations ruling that had far-reaching repercussions in the Federal and Tasmanian Parliaments and the High Court of Australia.

Chronicling Tasmania’s journey from exclusion to inclusion, from opposition to acceptance, and from hatred to embrace, The Campaign tells an historic and emotionally-charged story about real-life events that changed Tasmania for the better.

Matt Scholten (Mother) directs a stellar cast including Alex Duncan, Rosemary Cann, Robert Jarman, Mel King and Ben Winckle to tell this important Tasmanian story.

“From the moment I heard the story of the struggles for gay law reform in Tasmania stemming from the Salamanca Market arrests I knew this was a stirring tale of peaceful grassroots activism, a story that truly defined a community, one that inspired and fascinated me and that could be told with great passion, emotion and theatricality.” said Matt Scholten, Artistic Director & Creative Producer, If Theatre. “I am truly delighted to have had the opportunity to work with Campion Decent on this magnificent and important play.”

Director: Matt Scholten Featuring: Alex Duncan, Rosemary Cann, Robert Jarman, Mel King, Ben Winckle Set & Costume Designer: Matt Scholten Lighting Designer: Nicholas Higgins Composer / Audio Designer: Heath Brown Stage Manager: Adam (Gus) Powers Writer: Campion Decent

The Campaign
Peacock Theatre – Salamanca Arts Centre, Hobart
Season continues to 3 November 2018
Information and Bookings:

Image: Rodney Croome is arrested at the Salamanca Market in 1988 – photo by Roger Lovell