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A Big Birthday Bash

Whether you remember watching a play as a school student, attending a live music gig or community dance production, almost everybody has memory they hold dear of the adored home of Territory performing arts, Brown’s Mart.

By Kate Conway

After launching the iconic institution’s 50th year in June with storytelling event SPUN, and implementing a new permanent, augmented reality exhibition in July, the party culminates this month with a big birthday bash celebrating half a century of creativity, history and theatre.The weekend-long shindig sees a whole precinct takeover, from the patchwork quilt of arts organisations that have called Brown’s Mart home, and contributed the rich tapestry of the building’s history.

Darwin Fringe, Music NT, Northern Territory Writers’ Centre, Tracks Dance, Corrugated Iron Youth Arts, Darwin Theatre Company and Darwin Community Arts are all returning to their birthplace, with a host of free performances, installations and panel talks.

“We have circus performances on the edge of Brown’s Mart and Civic Park. The Gift by Tracks Dance was specifically choreographed to reflect on the 50 years of Brown’s Mart, Corrugated Iron are installing a shed onsite for people to explore their history and we’ve got poetry readings, poetry slams, play readings, fringe performances, and a big music gig,” says Brown’s Mart CEO, Sophia Hall.

Brown’s Mart is also launching the Have a Seat in the Theatre program. Available to all, the program is an exciting, exclusive chance to purchase a plaque engraved with your choice of words – your name, a loved one’s name, or a favourite quote – to live forever, firmly attached to the back of a seat in the beautiful, heritage theatre. There are only 100 seats available for purchase, so be quick!

If you would prefer to take home your memorabilia, bespoke, timber furniture crafted from the theatre’s original floorboards are also up for grabs.

Reflecting on the impressive milestone, Hall says, for the Brown’s Mart team, the local people, creatives and community groups were front of mind when planning the event.

“Everybody in this community has a really deep love and affection for, and memory of, Brown’s Mart. So for us, when you are taking a moment to celebrate that anniversary and recognise that it has been 50 years of existence, you are very aware of all of that, all of those people for whom this place has been important,” she says.

Whatever Brown’s Mart means to you, everyone’s welcome to get a glimpse behind the curtain and soak up the rich history. So round up your mates for some reminiscing, enjoy the fun and raise a toast to the backbone of the Top End arts community.

Brown’s Mart 50th Birthday Weekend

Photos: Duane Preston

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