Activist Rights

Street theatre and parties

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Street Theatre

Political street theatre is limited only by the imagination of activists and political artists. It is a term used to describe a huge variety of theatre and performance in public space that dramatises political messages or is part of a protest campaign. Huge puppets, die-ins’, physical theatre, dance and music have long been part of political movements.

Legal issues surrounding political street theatre are akin to others in this section. The choice to obtain specific permission from the relevant authority must be weighed against the basic right of freedom of political expression and assembly.

In some cases busking permits may be obtainable from the local council; these will also authorise the collection of donations from the public watching.

Safety issues such as the use of fire, the use of structures and other equipment may complicate obtaining permissions. See Obstruction if there is the possibility that the street theatre may obstruct’ a public thoroughfare.

Also see Offensive language and behaviour if there is the possibility that the theatre may ‘offend’ somebody, if the theatre contains swearing or nakedness.

As always, seek legal advice if you are unsure.

Street parties

Reclaim The Streets is a series of autonomous collectives who take over the streets and transform them from car traffic zones into free street festivals.

Several Reclaim the Streets actions have occurred in various parts of metropolitan Melbourne since 1997. There have been very few arrests at these events.

Possible offences include obstructing traffic and other traffic offences; other charges may include unlawful assembly, besetting, riot or affray.

Also see the case studies of Melbourne and Adelaide Reclaim The Streets

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