'a not-for-profit (NFP) artist-run initiative (ARI) operating a community-based venue and artists’ studios.
[It] is a creative playground for performers, musicians, artists, designers, multi-media makers, experimentalists, film-makers, theorists, activists, collective organisers, and local punters. It is fitted with a full PA, stage, LED lighting rig, projector and screen, licensed bar, a roof-top garden, and two non-residential artist studios currently supporting 5 practicing artists.
The Theatre was the realisation of a collective dream of five local artists, who wanted to create a legal warehouse venue to showcase alternative Sydney arts, performance and grassroots activism. The five “Rats” had been hosting events for years at many of the illegal inner-city and inner-west warehouse spaces that have been shut down over the years (Lan Franchis, Space 3, love hotel, and many temporary squatted zones), and dreamed of creating an accessible venue that held all relevant licences to stay open, and would not be at the mercy of high rents and developers.
The Red Rattler Theatre Inc is completely volunteer-run, and could not exist without the hard work and goodwill of a small army of volunteers who staff, manage and run the venue. The success and longevity of the Theatre depend on the involvement and support of volunteers....
[T]he name of the theatre is inspired by the old Red Rattler trains... The rattle refers to us trying to shake things up in terms of accessible venues and creative spaces in Sydney, and the colour red has long associations with left politics, revolution and anarchism.
Since its inception, The Red Rattler Theatre has shown the resilience, mettle and cunning of the furry creature it has been nicknamed for."Regarding hiring the 300-capacity theatre for performances see here
When the Jewish group Hillel tried to book the theatre in order to stage a series of storytelling performances relating to the Shoah on its premises it was unprepared for the Rats' response.
Hillel representative Shailee Mendelovitch, who applied to hire the theatre for that purpose, felt understandably "diminished" when received this unsigned email in response:
“Our policy does not support colonialism/Zionism. Therefore we do not host groups that support the colonisation and occupation of Palestine.”
The paper reports that NSW Jewish Board of Deputies chief executive Vic Alhadeff
has written to the theatre explaining that Hillel is a non-political organisation and reiterating his Board's support for a Two State solution.
He wrote inter alia:
“To categorically reject an approach by a Jewish organisation to hire your premises because of a political position that your team holds in relation to an overseas conflict is at best ill-informed and at worst racist and discriminatory."Alhadeff informed the antipodean J-Wire service:
"I wrote a respectful letter to the theatre, saying I would like to discuss the matter in order to resolve misconceptions on the part of their team – about the organisation which had approached them and about the position of the Jewish community in regard to Palestine and about Israel itself.
Despite several calls to the theatre with a request to discuss and resolve the matter and explain Hillel’s and the community’s position on these issues, I have received no response either to my letter or to several calls to the theatre."
Disgusted messages (some very shrewd in the points they make) have, not surpringly, been posted beneath The Australian's article and to the Rats' Facebook page here
A page on which the merest glimpse of the Rats' "Likes" leave us in no doubt where the Rats' loyalties lie
The Red Rattler Theatre, by the way, has an appeal underway for financial support. It seems safe to say that Jews and others appalled by its antisemitism will not be contributing.
Update: The Australian Jewish News [AJN] reports:
'In an email to The AJN tonight (Monday) it [the theatre] said the email [sent to Hillel refusing the booking] “does not reflect the values of the Community Board of the Red Rattler Theatre”.
The email, which is signed by the entire board of directors of the Red Rattler Theatre went on to say that “The Red Rattler condemns racism of any kind”.
“We welcome organisations from all cultures and walks of life and actively encourage cultural diversity.”...'
|A typical telling off for the Rats on Facebook|
But the little episode illustrates the depths to which some anti-Israel fanatics are willing to sink.
Which is instructive. And which leaves a nasty taste in the mouth.