Melita Rowston’s grandpa stole Ned Kelly’s bones! Well … that’s what Rowston family folklore claims. Now Melita journeys to the heart of Kelly country to uncover the truth in a new production at The Village Theatre – Erskineville Town Hall as part of the Sydney Fringe from 2 September 2015.
Examining the skeletons in her own and many other families’ closets, she meets a bunch of colourful characters who swear they’re also connected to Ned Kelly – and will go to astonishing lengths to prove it! Part TED talk, part comic monologue, Rowston explores a powerful national myth that continues to inspire many Australians to do really stupid things.
Nora Moloney ran a pub in Wangaratta in the 1870’s. She kept a shotgun under the bar and thought Ned Kelly was ‘scum of the earth.’ Australia’s greatest bushranger of all time was scared of her. Or so the family folklore goes… Nora was Melita’s great, great, great grandmother. In 1929, daredevil Malcolm Rowston nicked Ned Kelly’s bones from Old Melbourne Gaol or so he said… Malcolm was her grandfather.
Rowston grew up thinking everyone’s family has a Ned Kelly connection. Our Ned travelled a fair bit, held a few people hostage and had lots of brothers and sisters – it makes sense we’ve all been touched by his larrikin ways. Or does it? Are her family stories true? It’s post-colonial-cool to boast a Ned Kelly connection. Perhaps we’re all 6 degrees of separation from Ned Kelly? Or perhaps this is Australian tall-tale-telling at its finest?
Melita is one of Sydney’s exciting new wave of theatre makers acclaimed for her directing, writing and performance skills. Recent credits: Directing: New Theatre, Why Torture is Wrong and The People Who Love Them, and MilkMilkLemonade. Writing: New Theatre, Crushed. Performance: Melita exploded onto Melbourne’s Malthouse stage in Hey! Yeah! It’s Molly’s Travelling Worm Show! – the true story of one woman’s eccentric search for the world’s largest earthworm puppet in 2013.
In 6 Degrees of Ned Kelly, Melita celebrates the shit tourism industry that has grown up around Ned Kelly while also exploring how we connect to one another, transcend our ordinariness and become part of something bigger through story telling and myth. In going on this journey to better understand her ancestors, Rowston discovers more of herself.
“Rowston crams the show with hammy dialogue and physical humour providing the audience with some good laughs throughout. The result – a fitting tribute to tacky Australiana.” – The Music (Melbourne)
6 Degrees of Ned Kelly
The Village Theatre – Erskineville Town Hall, 104 Erskineville Road, Erskineville
Season: 2 – 6 September 2015
For more information, visit: www.melitarowston.com for details.
Image: Melita Rowston stars in the 6 Degrees of Ned Kelly – photo by Dave Quinn