Linda Hassall: Politics of Distance: Psychological Landscapes. Contemporary Identity in Australian Gothic Drama

The politics of distance has informed the psychological landscape of Australian cultural identity since settlement and colonisation

The politics of distance has informed the psychological landscape of Australian cultural identity since settlement and colonisation. Australian Gothic drama explores the psychology of distance through socio cultural themes associated with identity, race and belonging. The discussion focuses on the socio cultural and socio-racial Australian landscape that contains ‘the familiar’ and excludes ‘the other’ and further investigates historical white Australian behaviours associated with nationhood through the lens of contemporary Gothic drama. The paper integrates an analysis of Australian post-colonial anxieties that challenge traditional ‘Aussie’ values and mythologies. Discussing the tyranny of distance through conflicting post-colonial positions of land ownership, space and place the paper addresses current Australian debates associated with nationhood through an analysis of contemporary performance texts

Linda Hassall:
An expert in Australian Gothic drama and is Program Director at Griffith University in the Contemporary and Applied Theatre Department. Linda has 30years experience as a director, playwright and dramaturge in professional theatre industry contexts. She applies her comprehensive knowledge of theatre to her teaching and research disciplines at Griffith University. A research focus addresses white inheritance of landscape in creative contexts. Salvation Roses was the top ten finalists in the 2012 Qld Premiers Drama Awards. The research was developed in the award winning The Salvation Project. Her first play Post Office Rose (2008) won a Matilda Award for Best New Play (2006). Linda has a strong social justice agenda and applies her creative experience to profiled Applied Theatre projects such as The Return, the creative outcome of an ARC project 2014 addressing PTS in returning veterans.

Tegan Arazny (Facilitator & Documenter)
Tegan is a strong advocate for the development of Theatre and the Arts in community settings and has been involved with numerous Applied Theatre programmes throughout her professional training and experience. Tegan graduated with a Master of Arts with Distinction in Applied Theatre from The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London. She has professional experience in Community Performance that promotes Young People’s expression and engagement through Puppetry and Theatre practices. As well as collaborating and performing with ERTH Visual & Physical Inc and Welsh theatre company PuppetSoup, she has co-directed and worked alongside Shop Front Arts Co-Op Junior Ensemble of 8-14-year old’s to create the original devised production, The Unknown. Tegan is currently working as Teaching Artist for Sydney Theatre Company’s ‘School Drama’. This is a Teachers Professional Development Program designed to improve teaching and learning by modelling the use of drama-based strategies with quality children's literature.