"A Conversation"  is a film based on an Australian theatre performance telling the stories of two families who met in the presence of a facilitator, the parents of a young woman who was raped and murdered and the family of the offender. The play has been performed and filmed by the Norwegian group "No Theatre" on the occasion of the international Restorative Justice Week 2017, when it was screened during that week in more than 100 venues across the world.

The film will be available online during the REstART Festival and a screening is organised in Leuven, followed by a virtual talk with John McDonald, the real mediator who worked closely with the actor/s playing that role in the original Australian play, and Siw Risøy, the coordinator of the Norwegian "No Theatre" group. The discussion will be facilitated by Espen Marius Foss, a senior mediator from Norway.

a conversation

No Theatre was a non-profit community theatre group based in Oslo (Norway) with non-professional actors from all over the world, i.e. Norway, Spain, Germany, UK, Belgium and with a late director from the UK. They played ‘A Conversation’ for about 6 years, passionate about the subject of the play and inspired by its powerful effects on the audience. They hoped that their play could help influence the approach of the criminal justice system to reconciliation and ultimately that the power of dialogue is recognised as a key factor in facilitating reconciliation and forgiveness after a crime has been committed. For No Theatre the film of the theatre play is an important tribute to their director Peter Harris, who dedicated his artistic life, amongst other things, to the work with vulnerable groups of people. Peter sadly passed away in the Summer 2017, few months before the launch of the film.

"It was meant to be one single performance at an amateur theatre festival in Oslo after a one year of preparations. Our director, Peter Harris, took us through exercises and rehearsals to get in touch with feelings like guilt, anger, sadness and despair. Through these preparations the characters in the play were built, and  these preparations strongly influenced the way they appear in the theatre play".
Siw Risøy

"This  film of the theatre play is a “roller coaster” of feelings and will not leave anyone in the audience untouched".
Siw Risoy

"A Conversation" is an important contribution to the ongoing discourse on restorative justice and was written by the Australian playwright David Williamson and developed in close collaboration with John McDonald. The play is not easy to watch or to perform but is a great example of the transformative power of dialogue for people affected by crime and trauma. It shows how conflict can be reduced through mediation between perpetrators and victims. 

This video message was dedicated to all those ones who viewed the film during the international restorative Justice Week 2017.

"Kept apart we're capable of the most appalling intolerance. Brought together we’re capable of the most amazing generosity". John McDonald

A conversation 1
  • Audio: English (please note that the actors are from different countries and the English is spoken with different accents)
  • Subtitles: Albanian ٠ Croatian ٠ Dutch ٠ English ٠ French ٠ German ٠ Greek ٠ Hebrew ٠ Hungarian ٠ Italian ٠ Nepali ٠ Portuguese ٠ Russian ٠ Spanish
  • Director: Peter Harris & Oddbjørn Austevik. Writer: David Williamson. Theatre coordinator: Siw Risøy.
  • Cast: click here to know more about all actors!
  • This is a film of a play, and not a movie in its own right. In other words the script and the performance is directed to a live audience, hence might be perceived differently on video. Also, all the actors have performed the play live at several occasions, but most of them have never performed in a film.
John and Siw

John McDonald is the CEO of ProActive ReSolutions, a conflict transformation business that works in over 30 countries. He is a practitioner and thought leader in the world of conflict transformation in justice and workplace settings. John facilitated the first Restorative Conferences in Australia in the Land and Environment Court over the destruction of sacred sites on Aboriginal Land by mining companies, has worked with clients in Norway, Denmark, England, Austria, Germany, Italy, China and North America and was the inspiration for the Jack Manning character in the David Williamson plays, ‘Face to Face’, ‘A Conversation’ and ‘Charitable Intent’ and for the Michael Rymer film of ‘Face to Face’.  

Siw Risøy is from Norway and has an MA in art and design. She lives in Oslo and works as a counselor in high school. She has been an actor and a coordinator of the amateur theatre group “No Theatre” for about 6 years. Through the work with the theatre play “A Conversation” she was introduced to restorative justice and the power of dialogue to repair and create reconciliation even when really serious incidents have taken place. As a coordinator she has been dedicated to make this film of the play come through, and to participate in debates concerning the subject of restorative justice after the screening of the film, in Oslo, Leuven and Sassari.