Theatre / “Table Manners”. Written by Alan Ayckbourn, directed by Michael Weston. At Belconnen Theatre until October 28. Reviewed by LEN POWER
“LONG life, health, strength, wisdom and peace” was the list of wishes brought by Geraldine Cox from the kids at her Sunrise Cambodia Foundation when she visited Canberra for an art dinner and fundraising auction hosted at The Abbey by Aarwun Gallery on Saturday.Over 250 people crammed it to the Gold Creek function centre to bid for 59 donated artworks in a glitzy night that featured classical Cambodian dancing by the local Cambodian community. A star presence on the night was former Canberra artist Robert Pengilley, who had painted Cox with her children under siege from the army back in the 1990s – that huge painting was on show – and had donated a new pastel portrait of Cox for the auction.
A highlight of the evening was a Q&A between Cox and Senator Derryn Hinch, both of whom drew gasps from the audience as they described the experiences of children at risk. When asked by Hinch why she wasn’t raising money for Australian children at risk, she said she believed that the young people she cared for in Cambodia had no social security safety net and so had lives far more endangered than children here.Director of Aarwun Gallery, Robert Stephens, and his staff have now told “Citynews” that the auction, conducted in dramatic style by Canberra’s John Cooper raised approximately $100,000. We were there and we noticed one or two items were passed in and are still for sale.
Cox moved around the tables thanking the successful bidders for their generosity and those who carried away the (including a large sheep sculpture) works on the spot seemed mightily pleased with their acquisitions.
To find more out about the Sunrise Cambodia Foundation visit sunrisecambodia.org.au