A large-scale community wide celebration of a place and its people, Outback Theatre for Young People (OTYP) presents the world premiere of Julian Larnach’s Folk Song at community halls in the four towns across the Berrigan Shire in September.
Since 2015, playwright Julian Larnach (Winner of OTYP’s EMERGE: Riverina Playwright Commission, member of the Writer’s Group at Sydney Theatre Company) has been working with the people of the Berrigan Shire to develop a new work based on interviews with members of the local community.
Folk Song was developed as a result of this community consultation, as one young person explains, “our main objective is to break down the barriers between young generations and the broader Berrigan community. We are trying to show that the young generation, are creative, smart, team players, organised and talented and aren’t just trouble makers.”
These interviews form the basis of Folk Song – a verbatim play that reflects on the lives, stories and personalities of the community living across the Berrigan Shire. The show will be performed to audiences in Berrigan, Finley, Barooga and Tocumwal across two weekends in September.
Seven local Berrigan Shire young people aged 13 to 19 have been cast in the production, and have been working with Albury-based director Alyson Evans since July to bring the show to life. “For the production we’re looking to challenge the audience’s perception of theatre, and find new and non-traditional ways of staging a performance that really highlights the talent of the young people,” said Evans.
“Outback Theatre has an almost 30 year history of working with the young people in our region to engage them in the arts and showcase their diverse talent” said OTYP Creative Producer Sarah Parsons. “Each year, OTYP engages professional artists to work closely with the young people and draw out their stories, develop theatre skills and perform their work in high quality productions.”
“Folk Song is a fantastic example of how this process can engage a whole community in the arts, and give important opportunity for our young people’s voices to be heard. Hearing their own stories and the stories of their communities on stage is something that our young people are not often given the chance to do.”
“Folk Song will ignite a spirit of pride, humour and resilience in our audiences. We hope these evenings will be a celebration for the audiences, something to come together for, to talk about, to laugh about, to think about,” added Parsons.
Director: Alyson Evans Featuring: Christyanne Dart, Mackenzie Hannan, Chloe Hudson, Bella Jackson, Robert Johnston, Lochie Lawrence
Folk Song will be performed at the Tocumwal Memorial Hall (Friday 15 September – 7.00pm & Sunday 24 September – 5.00pm); Finley School of Arts (Saturday 16 September – 11.00am & Saturday 23 September – 7.00pm); Berrigan Soldiers Memorial Hall Saturday 16 September – 7.00pm & Saturday 23 September – 11.00am); and the Barooga Community Centre (Sunday 17 September – 5.00pm & Friday 22 September – 7.00pm). For more information and bookings, visit: www.outbacktheatre.com for details.
Image: Murray River, Tocumwal (supplied)