Aunty Christine Donnelly

When I established the Aboriginal Dance Theatre Redfern (ADTR) in 1979 my vision was to bring dance to Aboriginal youth and children by furthering the cultural, social and educational development of Aboriginal people. My way of doing this was to establish a performing arts and cultural access service for the underprivileged Aboriginal community of Redfern and the inner-city areas of Sydney.

When I started I knew I faced major obstacles, however, I also knew I could overcome them with hard work and a belief in my vision.

My beliefs in 1979 are consistent with my beliefs today.
I believe that:
Dance is an integral part of our culture and we need to keep that awareness in our minds at all times. Dance impart to our survival skills that we need to sustain our existence

For Aboriginals to realise our self-determination we need to be the master of our own destiny. Through the provision of arts and education programs, ADTR Will assist Aboriginal individuals to develop skills and experience that will help them to find meaningful employment within the cultural industries and play an active role within their community.
We need to keep in mind that we are the inheritors of many unique skills and we are responsible for passing these traditions to future generations and we need to have a choice in how we learn the skills and the learning organisations we can attend.

For this reason my intention, and the intention of ADTR, has always been to
keep a focus on the origin of our dance.
• My belief in, and commitment to, my vision left me no choice but to dedicate myself to the achievement of the goal.
• The intervening in 40+ years, have provided the ADTR with many challenges. However, as I reflect back over the past years I am delighted to announce that the ADTR has consistently achieved all our major objectives.

For over 40+ years I have worked to: Further the cultural and social development of Aboriginal people, primarily in the inner-city community, by providing a range of culturally appropriate activities thereby:

• Facilitating personal
and social development
• Building self confidence through participation in positive, meaningful, and culturally relevant activities and;
• Providing access to aboriginal
cultural traditions.

Promote an awareness of Aboriginal culture throughout the community
and improve the employment prospects of Aboriginal people through
appropriate skills development and placement programs.

We will achieve this through expanded focus by lodging numerous grants for funding our infrastructure – especially in the area of staffing, refining our ability to gain funding and introducing a business and marketing focus to our association.

I am proud to say that we have attained many milestones as we have struggled to achieve the above objectives. One of our most significant achievements was the establishment of the National Aboriginal Dance Council Australia (NADCA) in 1995. ADTR believes in, and supports NADCA. We believe NADCA,
if given the adequate support, will have an enormous impact on Aboriginal
dance in Australia during the 21st Century and beyond.