The venue is the Trades Hall, an institution initially built as a monument to the victory of the trades unions in their struggle for an eight hour working day (8 hours work, 8 hours rest, 8 hours recreation).
Now rebuilt as an imposing brick building, I often go there to dance tango, but tonight the chairs are laid out theatre-style and as the room fills up, it takes on an air of joyful expectancy.
At the door, my colleague Meagan offers welsh cakes to the line of people filing in, in celebration of St. David’s Day. Most people have never heard of welsh cakes before, never mind tasted them!
Although we are booked out, I’ve been taking calls and messages all week from those who “forgot” to book and even now, people are showing up without tickets and hoping to get in.
So it is standing room only by the time we begin the show with a short film offered to us by Miriam-Rose Ungunmarr-Baumann, the Aboriginal elder from the Daly River area of the Northern territory who is considered the first to “offer” the word dadirri to the nation. She has sent us a message, which we consider her blessing on our event.
Alongside the screenings, I call on my skills as a yoga/meditation teacher and workshop facilitator to offer an experience of “deep listening”. We sit in silence, breathing together, and let the images, music and words of Miriam-Rose’s film sink in.
Deep Listening is received well. People laugh in all the right places, and in some unexpected ones too! I love to hear the audience laugh together. And at the end they clap and cheer and whistle their appreciation. What a lovely response.
We spend a few minutes speaking and listening to each other, getting to know our neighbours, and then we have a Q+A with some of the contributors to the film.
I am surprised at the level of community present in the room. At the feeling of togetherness. People come up to me and say that they are inspired. On the whole, it’s a very good start.
Deep Listening is supporting the remote Aboriginal community of Nauyiu, in the Northern Territory, through the Miriam-Rose Foundation. Miriam-Rose is the elder who first talked about "dadirri" and gave us the word from the language of the Malak Malak people.