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The Grandma Tree
July - November 2014
With Outback Theatre for Young People, Koori Playtime, Intereach Deniliquin and Deniliquin High School
The grandma tree - designed as a first theatre experience for the very young, promenade visual theatre where the forth wall is literally removed by a reveal of an interactive journey behind the initial panorama shadow screens. The outcome of a 3 month creative development with local koori families from koori playtime in Deniliquin.. Elders aunties mums and under 5 year olds, were the designers and collaborators and a small targeted cast and crew of emerging theatre makers delivered the show.
With an embedded narrative weaving together traditional symbols from aboriginal stories of country and classic timeless references to non aboriginal fairytales, into a new local fable about country, the cycles of life and getting lost and finding your way again...
All explored in consultation and following cultural protocols.
‘Come closer, come sit by me, as my voice can only speak quiet words these days. I want to tell you a story. A very old story…’
The Grandma Tree is a story of family, the cycles of life and getting lost and being found. The culmination of Outback Theatre’s Little Movers and Makers Project that saw Outback Theatre artist, Mandy Field work with young children and their parents, the Jyldamenk/Koori Playtime and the Young Parents Group at the Deniliquin Intereach.
Ideas generated by the playgroup families were then workshopped by a dedicated group of young people and The Grandma Tree story was developed.
This was a truly intergenerational project, that developed a unique local fairytale, weaving accessible and classic themes together with elements from traditional local knowledge..
Regional Arts Australia Conference 2010, Opening Ceremony, Launceston, Tas
'At twilight at the intersection of Frederick and St John Streets for a welcoming event combining massed choirs, traditional and contemporary dancing, a community procession and projections, all set against the majestic backdrop of Chalmers Church, Princes Park and the rolling hills of Launceston.
For thousands of years the place we now call Launceston has been a meeting place. The convergence of three rivers in a sheltered valley has made it a place where people have lived day to day as well as a place for ceremony and ritual.
Our opening ceremony, Weavings, as well as marking the opening of Junction 2010, is designed to welcome people to Launceston from all parts of the globe.
It is a weaving together of culture, of place, and of voices, and of generations, drawing on traditional and contemporary culture, to reflect this place, this community, at this point in history.
Weavings has been developed by a team of indigenous and non-indigenous artists working in close collaboration with the Tasmanian Aboriginal Community.
Event Producer – Mandy Field
Cultural Advisor – Melissa West
Dancers – pakana kanaplila
Songlines of the Moonbird – written by Dyan Summers
Arrangement – Teresa Beck-Swindale
Choir Director – Denise Sam
Lighting Design – Bluebottle
Dorothy Murray and Bobby Wilson
Vox Harmony, Singcognito, Hagley Farm School Choir,
Additional performers: Queechy High School, Kings Meadows High School, Launceston College, Lilydale School and University of Tasmania School of Visual and Performing Arts.