The Centre for Aboriginal Performing Arts (ACPA) was a place of pride and place many young Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander students went to. My Eldest was accepted and decline to go to QUT because it had more of a script writing area, she then thought to go back to ACPA to learn from there then go on to NIDA.
MY 18 year old got accepted. she wanted ACPA and then to go off to NIDA. She heard how great it was. How Wesley Enoch ran things. That Leah Purcell was wonderful with the students. Studies were serious you did not slack off, wag of just show up and into interact. You didn’t show up on time you copped it.
Some may say this was a bit missionary, but I see it as a great way to run things. In the entertainment industry, you can’t afford to slack off, you can’t show up with a hang over you can’t be gammin about things. The White industry is looking at us any slip up and we are literally up a crocodile creek.
My daughter has so far this year had to put up with a male student who make inappropriate comments to females. he has had erections when being on stage near other students. This freaked out my girl who start then at 17 and having this 20 something male student make comments about women and how they dress and what he would do to them and have his hard on. She complaint to her acting coach who said something would be done. Well the behaviour continued and progressively got worse until my daughter doesn’t want to be in a group with him. ACPA completely ignored her complaints and failed to deal with them. They (being the staff) never spoke to her that they had dealt with it. but the actions continued. This one student hasn’t just upset her, his comments have affected other female students who seem to think that they are worth nothing and its not worthwhile to complain as nothing gets done. We are demoralising our young women, and dehumanising them. We are more or less telling them that they shuld just accept these comments that they are either a joke or maybe a compliment to them.
My daughter had reached the point of no return with the assistance of Aunty Flo Watson who is the Elder at ACPA she encouraged my girl to go to the police and to the Human Rights & Equal Opportunities with her complaint so finally something will be done about that.
But other things are very wrong at ACPA we have Aboriginal staff being sacked and White people being employed in their position. An Aboriginal Dance teacher was given his marching orders and he will be replaced by a non Aboriginal Ballet Dancer who has never taught or dealt with Aboriginal People. Aunty Flo was Elder in residence as well as being the Elder on the board. So she was told that she can’t be both and that her role was not to be there and talk to the students and help them. If not that what the hell is an Elder for? Do we put them on the trolley and pull them out of the odd event?
Students are not being graded anymore, there pass or fail goes by their attendance. How can an educational institution do that? surely that goes against the rules of training bodies?
Something is rotten in this place and we need to as a community get in there and demand the arts minister take a good look at the organisation