ACT News


Liberties and the Christian lobby

Want to see Australian Sex Party leader Fiona Patten's 2010 Sunrise debate with Family First's Wendy Francis recreated as a wrestling match? That's one of the scenes in Version 1.0's The Major Minor Party, which premiered at the Playhouse on Wednesday.

Producer Sandy Collins said Centenary of Canberra creative director Robyn Archer used to be a neighbour of Robbie Swan, Patten's partner, and suggested to Version 1.0 a show looking at the Australian Sex Party - what Patten called ''the major minor party'' in Australian politics - would be an apt theatrical contribution this year.

Version 1.0 is a collaborative enterprise - there is no writer or director - whose members do extensive research and use existing documentation - interviews, media reports and other records - to present shows on different issues. ''We're looking at civil liberties and the Australian Sex Party's response to the efforts of minor parties and the Christian lobby,'' said Collins.

Also under examination is the issue of the separation of church and state, an issue about which cast member Jane Phegan, who plays Patten, felt strongly.

''If we have 80 per cent practising Christians in Parliament and 8 per cent of the population are practising Christians, well, you don't speak for me, do you?'' she said.

But, she said, there was a range of viewpoints within the membership of Version 1.0 and the idea was to make people think.

''Really, it's a case of battling out what will make it to the stage during the research and development phase,'' she said. ''The points are argued most vehemently.''

And as for the relationship with Canberra's centenary, she said one of the aspects explored by the show was the fanfare and optimism with which the capital was established and whether it upheld that feeling, 100 years on. ''We'll let you decide,'' Phegan said.

The Major Minor Party is on at the Playhouse, Canberra Theatre Centre at 8pm daily until Saturday with a 2pm matinee on Saturday. Tickets $30-$63. Bookings: 6275 2700.