Article Title:Trans Tasmin: Rally needed to hit target
Author or Credit:Jacqui Stanford
Published on:10th August 2013 - 08:22 am
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Story ID:13776
Text:Robert Gilbert will get the play off the ground, no matter what. With just a day to go, a Christchurch man still needs to raise just under half the funds he needs to progress a planned play looking at what it's like being transgender in New Zealand. Director and playwright Robert Gilbert has the working title Trans Tasmin for his play exploring the world of transgender New Zealanders in contemporary society, and is using group funding to get it off the ground. You can help by joining Ali Mau, Tamati Coffey and others in making a donation here Gilbert says with just a day left to go to hit his $6,000 target, it's nail-biting, as it's essentially an 'all or nothing' type of deal. The money goes to the Arts Foundation, and Gilbert believes that it's less than his goal amount he will need to convince the Foundation he can continue with the project on a smaller budget. So he'd of course love people to rally until the deadline, and support the project if it's something they believe in. "It's a different kind of work. There's been a gap in the theatre scene regarding trans characters and trans stories. I'm hopeful that this will go someway towards rectifying that." Seeing a couple of friends transition made Gilbert think, and realised that while 'cross dressing' is a topic that has been on the stage as long as theatre, trans issues have barely raised their heads. "It bothered me that we're still laughing at men in a dress. Particularly with the likes of entertainers like Dame Edna or Mrs Brown. And that some people in society, through ignorance, are still laughing and snickering mostly at people who have changed from male to female - though not exclusively so. And I just think it's fear and ignorance and misunderstanding, so I guess I wanted to look at those things." He is actually quite proud in New Zealand as a leader of social change and in acceptance of people from all walks of life. "It seems to me this particular area is one that's least understood. And still kind of ridiculed in a way. And that bothers me. People should be able to present themselves however they want in this day and age, surely, and it shouldn't matter. We're all just folks, we're all just people trying to get on. What's inside someone else's underpants is really just their business." Gilbert is also Rangi Ruru Girls' School's Director of Theatre Arts and has been a secondary educator for the past 15 years. "One of the themes I like to teach is tolerance and understanding and I think theatre does that. There are so many great plays that explore those themes, so from my perspective having an opportunity to put pen to paper and explore this, I feel quite privileged." He adds: "I am keen to get it off the ground and I want to have it workshopped by professionals which is really why I am trying to raise the money." Gilbert has expressed thanks to all those who have chipped in so far. "Personally I hate this sort of cap in hand, but I guess if anything I'd love to advocate more funding for the arts because then websites like this wouldn't need to exist to such a large degree. In any case I am grateful for those who have supported me and I am going to make this play happen one way or another." Jacqui Stanford - 10th August 2013    
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