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Celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of that legendary bus trip which Charles Perkins called “a turning point in race relations in Australia”

In 1965, a group of Sydney University students went on a bus trip through NSW to expose racism against Aboriginal people. Their action drew national and international attention to Australia’s version of Apartheid. Our powerful play taps right into the spirit of the revolutionary '60-s. It brings into focus what this historic event achieved, and inspires debate on the struggle against racism now.

MAY 15 - 17, 22 - 24, 29 - 31 

Fri & Sat at 8pm, Sun at 6.30pm

St Luke’s Hall, 11 Stanmore Road, Enmore

Duration: 70 minutes. No interval. No booking fee

$25 full/ $20 conc/ $15  students & groups of 10 +

Box office & café open half an hour before the show starts. No eftpos service available. Limited seating. Booking recommended: phone 9665 6489 or email

Theatre is a wonderful tool to raise awareness, to shed light on complex issues by bringing them closer to both mind and heart. The historical Australian Freedom Ride is a story of shared activism by Aboriginal and non- Aboriginal campaigners against racism. Our team of actors, augmented by some volunteers from the audience, will re-enact pivotal events and bring to life the people who were there: the great Aboriginal leader Charles Perkins, Pat Walford from Walgett, student activists Ann Curthoys, Jim Spigelman, Darce Cassidy, Wendy Golding, Pat Healy and many other freedom riders and Walgett townsfolk. We look at the tools of the global peace movement: non-violent direct action, as initiated by Mahatma Ghandi and Martin Luther King. And we are left with the question: Does the reality lived by Aboriginal people today correspond with their rights won then, and since then

The play is interactive, with some direct audience involvement. This participation is fun and a great way to get immersed in the story. Scenes with volunteers are always together with our actors. Those who want a volunteer part are kindly asked to turn up 20 minutes early, to be briefed. The rest of the audience is also encouraged to engage at certain points in the play, and will be instructed just before the show starts.

Background information:

The play is based on these major sources: Professor Ann Curthoys’ book “Freedom Ride: A Freedom Rider remembers”; Darce Cassidy’s audio recordings of the event, Charles Perkins’ biography “A Bastard Like Me”. From this material, combined with music, jive-talk and other cultural aspects of the time, co-directors Graham Jones and Jepke Goudsmit have created a powerful interactive play.

THE FREEDOM RIDE is a doco-drama in two parts: The first shows the lead up and preparation by the Sydney University students, and the second zooms in on events transpiring in the town of Walgett. It looks at the push for Constitutional change at the time, resulting in the successful 1967 Referendum. This ties in with the current ‘To Recognise’ or ‘Not To Recognise’ issue, whether the Constitution should be changed again.

At the S.A.F.A. meeting in our play, a young Jim Spigelman explains: “As the name S.A.F.A. implies, we’re about Students taking Action For Aborigines. We’re about raising awareness about the serious problems afflicting the Aboriginal people in this country. Once we’ve raised that awareness, we want to create a plan of action that will ultimately empower Aborigines to help themselves”.

What has become of this empowerment, 50 years on? We can fight for justice now, just like the Freedom Riders did then.

Kinetic Energy recognizes the Peoples of the Great Eora Nation as the traditional owners and custodians of the Sydney Basin

Earlier Event: March 13
Later Event: September 18
40 year Celebratory Anniversary Season