Arts Minister Peter Garrett today visited performing arts company Urban Theatre Projects in Bankstown to wish them well on their tour of South Africa.
"Urban Theatre Projects will take their production, The Football Diaries, to the world during the 2010 FIFA World Cup," Mr Garrett said.
"Just as the spectacular cultural program was a highlight for Australians and visitors at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, I am sure that the arts festival planned for the 2010 FIFA World Cup will highlight some extraordinary artistic talent.
"Being selected to be a part of the arts program in South Africa is a huge opportunity for the cast and crew and I think that everyone can be proud of the fact that an Australian theatre company will have a presence at such an exciting international event.
"This is the first Australian show and company to be invited to the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, South Africa and by showcasing Australia's artistic excellence overseas, it will also assist to create an international career pathway for Australian artists."
Member for Blaxland, Jason Clare MP said that The Football Diaries has been written and performed by local emerging artist Ahilan Ratnamohan, having evolved out of the notes he made in his personal diary while he played football in Europe.
"Urban Theatre Projects are a first-class theatre company that tell stories from our suburbs and take them to the world," Mr Clare said.
"They are producing world-class theatre and are helping forge for Bankstown a reputation for excellence in the arts—something long overdue."
The Australia Council for the Arts has provided one-off funding for The Football Diaries tour, in recognition of the role that the tour will have in building cultural relationships in South Africa.
This tour would not have been possible without the significant support of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Australian High Commission in Pretoria.
The Australia Council for the Arts is the Australian Government's principal arts funding body. It supports Australia's arts through funding, strengthening and developing the arts sector.
For more information about the Australia Council visit: www.australiacouncil.gov.au