Take your seat under the stars as NORPA’s Railway Wonderland brings Lismore’s beautiful, disused train station back to life. Drama, dance, and song combine to tell a magical story inspired by the region that will transport you across time from 1940s to the present day.
The last train left the platform of Lismore, north coast NSW, in May 2004. Like so many regional towns in Australia, the train station was a thriving centre of activity and the lifeline of the community. The history of the Northern Rivers region is written on its tracks – from the arrival of early settlers, the post-war immigrants, the Aquarius hippies, the returning soldiers and young people leaving the town in search of work and adventure in the big cities. Lismore’s train station is steeped in the stories of regional Australia.
One of NORPA’s most adventurous and ambitious works to date, Railway Wonderland was first put on the tracks of Lismore train station in 2012 and was a sell-out success. After much hard work, and repeated calls for its return, NORPA are now putting it back on the tracks for audiences to enjoy.
Combining drama, dance, live music and a choir, Railway Wonderland is a magical ride across time from the 1940s to the present day. The story unfolds on the station platform with the audience in specially constructed seating across the old railway tracks.
Railway Wonderland opens with four strangers taking shelter in the fluorescent glare of a railway waiting room. They are waiting for a bus as the trains don’t run any more. They have many reasons for leaving – love, fame, to run away, to just go home one more time.
The distant sound of a train whistle announces the arrival of a mysterious old woman who has come to catch the train. Is she an apparition, an angel, or mad – or all three? The strangers are swept up into the old woman’s tale of arrival as a young Italian immigrant in a strange land and her search for belonging in a country town.
“Train stations are such evocative and romantic places where a thousand hellos and goodbyes resonate across time,” says Artistic Director Julian Louis. “Railway Wonderland continues NORPA’s strong tradition of creating dynamic, fun and highly entertaining works that take people out of the theatre and into the heart of our cities and towns.”
“The disused Lismore train station is the perfect site for this production, it is a place that has deep connections in our community but the stories also reverberate across all of regional Australia.”
Lismore Railway Station, Lismore
Season: 22 October – 7 November 2015
Bookings: 1300 066 772 or online at: www.norpa.org.au
For more information, visit: www.norpa.org.au for details.
Image: Railway Wonderland – photo by Grant MacIntyre