Performing Lines statement regarding BDS Boycott of Sydney Festival

Whilst Performing Lines does not speak on behalf of our artists, rather as an organisation that supports their practice and seeks to uphold their critical role in questioning the assumptions that shape us as a civil society, we and our artists are united in denouncing oppressive systems of any kind and the regimes that support them. In this, Performing Lines is committed to engaging with BDS and the leadership of Sydney Festival now and in the longer term, to interrogate and action on issues of enduring responsibility that affect our community.

We reject that festivals are a-political and see them as highly-charged, politicised spaces where difficult subjects can be safely explored. This is largely the point of coming together optimistically, as a group of thinking, feeling, and socially engaged people. We need artists’ voices to contribute loudly to political debate of all kinds. It is lamentable that we are losing the contribution of such rich perspectives from a defining event in Sydney’s cultural life, at a time when we need them so much.

We acknowledge, respect and strongly defend the right of each artist to decide whether to withdraw their work from Sydney Festival, or not. However, we are deeply concerned that their work, their values, their collegiality, and their relationship with audiences could be severely compromised as a result of their decision. This is grossly unfair.

We are proud to have produced Black Brass by Mararo Wangai (as a Belvoir presentation) and Grey Rhino by Charmene Yap and Cass Mortimer-Eipper (premiering at Sydney Festival) and applaud the creative effort, care and integrity these works reflect.

In everything we do, we acknowledge that we live on Aboriginal land and constantly learn from the wisdom of First Peoples.

Where we are and the history that precedes us informs how we work and how we move forward.