Australia may have recently celebrated two years since marriage between same-sex couples became legal in this country, but it's important to remember the struggle faced by the LGBTQ community to get there, and this fight goes way back further than 2017. Roughly 30 years ago, being gay was considered a crime in Tasmania and it wasn't until the Tasmanian Gay Law Reform Group defied a ban on a stall to decriminalise sexual activity between consenting adults that progress began. Presented as part of the Midsumma Festival, Campion Decent's The Campaign traces the events from that day, where over 100 people were arrested, and the changes this group brought.
Decent spending considerable time researching and interviewing figures who were involved with the gay law reform and writing the play, which had its first performance in 2018. "I was approached with the idea at the beginning of 2016 by the director Matt Scholten who operates If Theatre, and we spent the next two and a half years developing it and building partnerships. We were hoping to premiere the work in October 2018 to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the first arrests at Salamanca Market and with the assistance of Playwriting Australia, Tasmanian Theatre Company, Blue Cow Theatre and Salamanca Arts Centre – and the blessing from key stakeholders – this became a reality," he says.