The Cake Man is a 1975 play by Aboriginal Australian writer Robert J. Merritt. It was made into a TV movie in 1978.
The Cake Man was written by Merritt while an inmate at Bathurst Gaol. It was the first full-length play staged by the National Black Theatre in Redfern, Sydney in 1975. Merritt, escorted by prison guards, attended the opening night in handcuffs. The actors refused to commence the performance until Merritt's handcuffs were removed.
The play has come to be regarded as a classic of Australian theatre.[ citation needed ]
The Cake Man was notably revived for performances in Sydney and Perth in a Yirra Yaakin and Belvoir co-production in 2013.
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Theatre of Australia refers to the history of the performing arts in Australia, or produced by Australians. There are theatrical and dramatic aspects to a number of Indigenous Australian ceremonies such as the corroboree. During its colonial period, Australian theatrical arts were generally linked to the broader traditions of English literature and to British and Irish theatre. Australian literature and theatrical artists have over the last two centuries introduced the culture of Australia and the character of a new continent to the world stage.
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The National Black Theatre was a theatre company run by a small group of Aboriginal people based in the Sydney suburb of Redfern and which operated from 1972 to 1977. The original concept for the theatre grew out of political struggles, especially the land rights demonstrations which at the time were being organised by the Black Moratorium Committee. The centre held workshops in modern dancing, tribal dancing, writing for theatre, karate and photography, and provided a venue for new Aboriginal drama. It also ran drama classes under Brian Syron who conducted the first of a planned series of six-week full-time workshops for his students who included Jack Davis, Freddie Reynolds, Maureen Watson, Lillian Crombie, and Hyllus Maris. These people went on to become known in the Aboriginal community for their work in the Australian theatre and film industries.
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