In the Heart of Our Past
Location: Narrandera, Western Riverina (Western Riverina Arts)
Contribution: $3,000 – Country Arts Support Program (CASP)
As part of the John O’Brien Festival 2014, The Cad Factory, Western Riverina Arts and Spirit FM presented the play In the Heart of Our Past in the Narrandera Railway Station car park, as a unique drive-in theatre experience.
In the Heart of Our Past comprised of three short plays based around Narrandera’s past. The first play recalled the excitement of local girl, Shirley Bliss, winning Miss Australia in 1954 before travelling to California later that year for the Miss Universe contest.
The second play re-imagined the day in 1909 when Dr Harold Lethbridge arrived with his wife in Narrandera from Sydney to begin thirty-five years of medical treatment for the town.
Lastly in a bush yarn tradition, a 115 year old man who went by the name Drought’n’Raid returns to Narrandera and speaks of how everybody has blamed him for Narrandera’s major weather disasters over the last 100 years.
In the Heart of Our Past was written by award-winning Melbourne playwrigh Kieran Carroll during a 2012 residency at the Cad Factory. Local musician Fional Caldarevic wrote the soundtrack, and lead the Narrandera Drive-in Theatre Choir who performed a capella throughout the duration of the play alongside Melbourne actors Paul Mercuri and Lee McClenaghan.
The presentation of the play was unlike any other that had taken place in Narrandera before. Audiences drove to the Railway Station car park and watched actors from inside the car, listening to dialogue through their car radios by tuning in to Spirit FM. Those who didn’t have access to a car or missed out on tickets were able to tune in at home and enjoy In the Heart of Our Past as a radio play.
- 7 paid artists
- 12 piece volunteer choir
- 24 participants (83% local)
- 109 attendees (92% local)
- Local history was re-imagined and retold through creative use of disused infrastructure
- In the Heart of Our Past script was given to Parkside Museum, Narrandera, to be preserved as a lasting contribution to Narrandera’s cultural heritage
- Members of the volunteer choir were provided professional development opportunities
An article on In the Heart of Our Past can be found at realtimearts.net.
In the Heart of Our Past was supported by Create NSW’s (formerly Arts NSW) Country Arts Support Program, a devolved funding program administered by Regional Arts NSW and local Regional Arts Development Organisations on behalf of the NSW Government.