“Outback Theatre has been a wonderful experience for my children…the team were very professional and passionate about the artistic development of kids in our isolated community. Thank you.” Participant’s Father
The Echo in our Walls Project ran throughout 2015 & 2016 and engaged the young people of Hay in the local and oral histories of their town. Where can we find local history in places other than books and newspaper articles? We were interested in excavating stories from less obvious sources: an uncaptioned photograph, the wild asparagus that grows by the riverbank, the words of an elder, the language of Hay’s original inhabitants.
This project centred on the idea that we have to be intentional and creative in remembering this history. If we don’t make a concerted effort to preserve these stories and this language, they could get lost.
There were a few unexpected moments during the process.
We were continually impressed by the camaraderie within the ensemble of young people from Hay. In particular, the older performers looked after the younger kids and helped them rehearse and learn their lines.
We were delighted to witness the pride and ownership of the work by the ensemble, as well as the confidence they gained in public speaking and singing. We were impressed by the honest and candid storytelling of the kids, sharing feelings about their life in Hay and how they see the town and its social hierarchy. The ensemble were braver than we could have ever expected, in sharing their honest perspective of their life in a small rural town, without fear, shame or censorship.
After our six week development period, we were ready for our performances which were held on Saturday 2nd April at 7.30pm and Sunday 3rd April at 3pm. Our Saturday night show featured stunning outdoor projections by Vic McEwan which gave the night a particularly magical quality and all shows were sold out with a waiting list.
When watching the show, it was like these young people were offering their parents and community a gift. They were giving them insight into their heads and hearts. What they feel, what they see, how they navigate the world. By making a show about history, we managed to tap into the present day, and hopes for the future.
The show we made was honest, brave and unflinching. Often, young people and especially teenagers can mask their true feelings, thinking they won’t be understood or properly listened to.
This show gave them the ability to share themselves and their perspectives, without irony or shame. To connect to their history, their family, their traditional country, their townspeople and each other.
The creative outcome of this show was a sprawling, huge, ambitious production – but we were happier with the personal achievements we witnessed. A young woman processing her grief. A young man learning his identity can be a source of strength and pride. A young boy learning to speak to a crowd without tears running down his cheeks. A young girl learning to speak the language of her ancestors.
These are the memories that will echo on within the team, within the young people involved, and within the walls of Bishop’s Lodge, forever.
Jessica Bellamy, Artistic Director
Our stories are the dreaming stories.
What you live is your story.
Dreaming is our voice.
Our life is connected to country.
Our life is connected to place.
We live according to our stories.
If we lose our stories, we live for the wrong things.
If we lose our stories, we don’t know how to live.
Raymond ‘Splinter’ Woods, Cultural Advisor[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]