Putting Real People on Stage: Helgard Haug (Rimini Protokoll) in Conversation with Theatre Practitioners and Academics from Australia

Meg Mumford, John Severn


As part of Rimini Protokoll’s visit to Australia in 2012 to create and stage 100% Melbourne, a production featuring 100 inhabitants of the City of Melbourne cast according to demographic criteria, Ulrike Garde and Meg Mumford organised and chaired a panel with Helgard Haug, one of the key players in this German performance collective. Four Sydney-based artists whose performance practices included collaborating with or representing non-professional theatre performers were also invited to join the discussion that took place on 4 April 2012 at the Goethe- Institut Australia, Sydney. These artists and their artistic roles or affiliations at that time were: Claudia Chidiac (Creative Producer of Performance, and Music and Theatre Producer at Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre), Alicia Talbot (Artistic Director of Urban Theatre Projects), Alana Valentine (playwright), and David Williams (founder and CEO of version 1.0). During the discussion, the panel members presented and compared their approaches to representing and/or working with real people—people with a verifiable physical existence who usually have not received institutional theatre training or have little prior stage experience, and whose life skills, experiences, and/or narratives are brought in various ways to the public arena of the stage.


The following transcript extract, edited by Meg Mumford and John Severn, offers access to the discussion between the panellists. It is preceded by brief information about each panellist’s relevant theatre practice over the last c. 15 years. It concludes with a series of short responses by each member of the panel to Mumford’s invitation in June 2015 to address a final question about recent developments with regard to Reality Theatre / Theatre of Real People. This question had been on the agenda for the 4 April 2012 event, but on the night it was not possible to include it within the given time frame. In Helgard Haug’s case, her German-language commentary has been translated by Ulrike Garde and Meg Mumford.

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