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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 13 Hansard (16 November) . . Page.. 5477..

Rotary and the Podmore Foundation—I know that you, Madam Deputy Speaker, have attended those dinners at the Podmore Foundation, as have I—is much needed work. I commend all of those organisations for looking after the interests of one of the poorest countries in the world and one of our nearest neighbours. The event was hosted by the ambassador and was well attended by a cross-section of the Canberra community, unified in our desire to help the good people of Timor-Leste.

I have special affection for the people of Timor-Leste, having served in what was then called East Timor in 2000, with the Australian Army, and I saw firsthand the poverty, the hardships and the trauma that had been experienced by the majority of the population.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Robert Altamore and all of those who attended the evening and sponsored it, all the organisers for their generosity and for their ongoing support of Dili and the people of Timor-Leste.

Free Rain Theatre

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (4.49): Last week I had the privilege of attending the Free Rain Theatre Co's final presentation of the year. It was a great shame I had not got to it earlier in the season. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? was directed by Cate Clelland and was performed in the Canberra Courtyard Studio, in the round or at least in the three-quarters round, which made it very intimate when George and Martha had their domestic altercations. I want to congratulate the team at Free Rain Theatre on this outstanding production.

I had heard very good reports about it. I went with a friend and we went away, after three hours of up-close and personal theatre of a deeply confronting kind, blown away by Andrea Close in the role of Martha, Michael Sparks as George, Ben Williams and Hannah McCann as the young visitors and a fabulous production team headed by Cate Clelland. I want to pay tribute to Free Rain Theatre Co and the contribution that they make to life and artistic life in the ACT. With their artistic director Anne Somes at the helm, Free Rain have become the acme of theatre in the ACT.

I would like to draw to members' attention their 2011 season, the theme of which is putting colour into your life, which begins with Anne Somes directing a reprise of Oklahoma at the Q in February, followed by Aunty Mame at the Canberra Theatre Centre, which is a great space—as you would know, Madam Deputy Speaker; I have seen you there often—in April, followed by Sweet Charity and The Dark Side of Midnight, a new play for Free Rain, The Removalists, a perennial but great play by David Williamson, finalising the year with Grease. In addition, in the Courtyard Studio over the Christmas period, Free Rain will be doing Goldilocks and the Three Bears and, in the July break, Beauty and the Beast for the children.

Free Rain has got a great history in the ACT and I just want to draw to members' attention the great achievements of Free Rain by pointing out some of the people who have gone from Canberra through Free Rain and who are now active in professional theatre elsewhere. These include Alison Bell, who has gone on from Free Rain to the Sydney Theatre Co, the Melbourne Theatre Co, Belvoir as well as TV and film;

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