In 1988, more than 100 arrests were made at Hobart’s popular Salamanca Market when the Tasmanian Gay Law Reform Group defied a ban to gather signatures on a petition to decriminalise sexual activity between consenting adult males in private.
The unprecedented and highly publicised arrests grew into Australia’s largest-ever gay rights civil disobedience, which began a campaign to change the Tasmanian law – 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 – The Campaign chronicles Tasmania’s journey from exclusion to inclusion, from opposition to acceptance, and from hatred to embrace.
From playwright Campion Decent (Unholy Ghosts, Three Winters Green), The Campaign won Best New Writing at the 2019 Tasmanian Theatre Awards.
As part of the season, the Seymour Centre will present a panel discussion on February 19 featuring Michael Kirby AC CMG, Rodney Croome AM and Julie McCrossin AM.
Together they will discuss future battlegrounds, as well as the roles personal storytelling, strategic risk-taking and compromise play in achieving significant social and legal change. Tickets are available via the Seymour Centre website.