The Echo In Our Walls 2015 – Stage 1
The Echo in Our Walls is a project that uses the historic house and garden Bishop’s Lodge as venue and inspiration for a promenade theatre piece.
The Echo in Our Walls launched with a creative development in Hay this September. The young people of Hay and Booligal, in consultation with Artistic Director Jessica Bellamy, Director Lara Kerestes, Sound Designer and Composer Vic McEwan and Cultural Liaison Ray Woods, devised the first stage of the project.
During the creative development process, participants were engaged in workshops on family history, devising work, drama process activities, shadow puppetry and more. They were encouraged to bring along artefacts from their families, and items that meant something to them to inspire their theatre making. Ray and Gubba Woods led a walk along Bushy Bend at the Murrumbidgee River to explain the Indigenous murals and the history of Indigenous people who lived in Hay and surrounds.
For the showcase at the end of the development, the key ensemble of young actors performed short scenes and monologues inspired by different aspects of the history of Bishop’s Lodge and the community of Hay. It was a festive afternoon in the Lodge that also included installations, audio stories, roving performance, audience participation (“Build your town”) and a cake stall!
The close-knit community of Hay rallied around this project, Jessica summaries her experience, “As a city-slicker, I’m used to museums and heritage houses being carefully quarantined institutions. It was therefore very exciting to see the ways in which the Bishop’s Lodge committee turns their museum into a living, breathing, still-relevant institution! For example, when Erin Shalders wondered what costume to wear in her monologue set in the 1910s, a member of the committee offered her a lace apron from the turn of the century and said, “How about this?” It was incredible to know that a community could be so close that a 13 year old was trusted with this artefact.”
OTYP will return to the plains of Hay in February 2016 for Stage 2 of The Echo in Our Walls.