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Using satirical sketches as political weapons

WORKSHOP: Actor Tony Barry takes time out from shooting Mystery Road to talk about his experiences in Ipswich.
WORKSHOP: Actor Tony Barry takes time out from shooting Mystery Road to talk about his experiences in Ipswich. Claudia Baxter

IT MAY come as a surprise to some that prolific Australian actor Tony Barry, who has appeared in more than 100 films and television shows in his 40-year career, has also had a parallel career as a social activist.

Among other things, Mr Barry spent 11 years running programs for inmates in Sydney's Long Bay prison.

Another achievement was his work on an ABC series called Scales of Justice - credited with instigating the Fitzgerald Royal Commission which ultimately brought down the corrupt Joh Bjelke-Petersen government.

More recently Mr Barry has become a key supporter of the campaign against unconventional gas.

Now the 72-year old actor, who lives at The Pocket, is putting on a three-night workshop in Mullumbimby planned to culminate in a series of satirical political sketches.

Mr Barry said he believed comedy and creativity had a vital but lately neglected place in activism.

"I think ridicule, satire, and even mockery are political weapons that haven't been used against the 'skulduggery' of the corporations," he said.

"The arts are a political and social instrument and should be used accordingly.

The workshop will involve three successive nights - starting this Friday - with the aim to bring creatives together and come up with a show of sorts, which will be filmed.

The group will discuss the most pressing social and political issues in the community - which will then inspire a series of performances on the Sunday night.

"We're looking for serious players who want to come along and use their creative skills with other creative artists and see what they're capable of," Mr Barry said.

"We want to take the piss, but do it with love."

The actor, who is currently appearing in the ABC's The Time of Our Lives, said both young and old creatives were invited to come along for the ride.

"We're all in this life boat together."

 

Workshops

WHEN: Today, from 6pm; tomorrow, 5pm; and Sunday, 6pm

WHERE: Mullumbimby Drill Hall Theatre




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