Benefit for East Timor Journalists

Australia's journalism and human rights communities have a chance to reach out and help the embattled journalists of East Timor via a special benefit performance on September 24 of "Bare Witness," a new play by Mari Lourey, author of "Dirty Angels," "The Bridge" and "Digging into Green Mountain."

Set in the Balkans, East Timor and Iraq, the production draws on real-life experiences of photojournalists and foreign correspondents working in war zones, examining the dangers and moral issues news professionals must face when reporting on conflicts. A question-and-answer session with the cast will follow the benefit performance. 

Directed by Nadja Kostich, the play features Isaac Drandic, Daniela Farinacci, Todd McDonald, Adam McConvell and Maria Theodorakis. It received the 2005 R.E. Ross Trust Script Development Award and was shortlisted for the Patrick White Playwright's award in 2008.

"This play is a riveting performance using multimedia, movement, sound and drama to bring alive the rich and often confronting experience of war photographers and journalists," said Cait McMahon, managing director of Dart Centre Australasia, which is sponsoring the benefit. "The performance raises many pertinent issues about the lives of the foreign correspondents in conflict zones.  It is a must-see for anybody involved in the industry or interested in peering through a ‘window’ into the life of such professionals."

The benefit aims to raise money for a trauma awareness programme for journalists of Timor Leste who report on the world’s youngest democracy. Journalists in Timor operate with skill and resilience with few resources, McMahon said, and the Dart-sponsored program aims to enhance their skills when reporting on people who have experienced adversity. The programme will be a practical programme offering a mix of journalism skills and trauma awareness.

The benefit performance is set for 7:30 pm at fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne. Tickets are $40. Order them here.