Hatch your creativity!

I’m still buzzing with energy from this International Day of Disability event at Rockdale Town Hall on 10 December 2014. As you can see from the attached photos, we had a blast of a time performing for the amazing people involved in disability services in the southern Sydney region. Rockdale Town Hall 10/Dec/2014 - 1

Audience members told us about their experiences of creativity, supplying the material for OOTB to improvise creatures and stories full of passion – whether it was the teller’s love of animals, acting, scriptwriting, soccer or fast food.

The Town Hall was filled with creative energy – from the wonderful wheelchair dancers of WALCA to Shopfront’s fantastic dance ensemble, the very gifted Sunnyhaven musicians and singers, and two extremely talented solo dance and hip-hop performers.

Rockdale Town Hall 10/Dec/2014 - 4I have absolute admiration for the Hatch Creative Circle and others who helped these emerging artists channel and express their creativity. I was inspired by all of the performers and felt honoured to be on the bill with such wonderfully gifted people!

Rockdale Town Hall 10/Dec/2014 - 2


If only the money-making machine OOTB created during the show could be realised and put to work providing ongoing support for these disability services!

The gift of giving

A playback performance is often described as ‘an act of service’.  For the teller to have their story or moment enacted back to them can be a validating and rewarding experience; and at times giving us glimpses into ourselves that we may not as yet identified.
… at rehearsal some months ago I shared my ‘story’ to the OOTB troupe that my hopes of travelling to Ireland to perform with the Peace Angels was not financially possible.  I was disappointed at that thought but it was in the telling that I realised just how disappointed I was.  My colleagues gave this moment of truth back to me and as they did I shed some tears of regret.  Then a true act of service emerged as one of our troupe suggested we run the next gig as a Fundraiser to help me get to Ireland.
Over 40 people attend the Roxbury on the 3rd August to see the show and brought with them precious jewels from their lives with their stories and moments.  Together we laughed, felt the joy, the humour, the sorrow and trepidations in an others heart as they offered up their stories.  By the end of the night guests talked of being connected and of the magic that happened ‘before our eyes’ as the stories unfolded on stage. ‘How do you do that?’ was the question on many guest lips.
For myself I offer heartfelt thanks for the amazingly generous gifts offered for the Silent Auction and to my talented and big-hearted troupe…thanks to this event I now have my ticket for Ireland.
The Peace Angels is a Transformational Theatre Company that through their performance reminds us of the beauty within and to hold Peace and Hope in our hearts…we are not alone. For more information go to www.peaceangels.com.au

Playback Rocks

None was the precise number of times I was going to be Laurence Olivier when I grew up. Being an actor was in the same category as working with the Komodo dragons in the animal pit at one of the Triad-run illegal casino in Shanghai. Planet To-Be-Or-Not-To-Be was further out than Uranus, and we all know how far out that is.

Perhaps turning 40 hatched a Ridley Scott Alien inside my brain that chew its way to my legs and caused them to stand up in front of crowds … well, more than 8 people … and indulge some in very un-respectable member of the establishment behaviours.

Leg-chewer or otherwise, thank god for that Alien! For the past 20 years I have had a community that has sustained and enlivened me. And for the past 20 years I have had a practice that has deepened my engagement with myself and the world and that has literally changed who I am.

Who would have thought that Komodo Dragon wrangling on Uranus could have been such a life-changing experience.

Storytelling is Ageless

The Saturday before last was Out of the Box’s public performance for the winter season.  And the weather certainly held the theme: cold, raining and windy.  But, despite that, our intrepid audience braved the elements to come to the show and share their stories.

I’ve been doing playback for around 10 years now and the thing I love the most is being able to give something special to the brave audience members who offer their stories to be re-enacted as theatre. I call this gift “the mirror” because, to me, seeing your story performed as playback is like seeing your own life reflected – and not just the facts, dates, scenes and events but the true story, the experience of what it was actually like for you when you were IN your story.

At our show, we were blessed with an amazing teller – a man in his late 80’s – who told a story about being a young white man in South Africa, trying to cross the Drakensberg mountains on a native bus.  Midway through the trip a woman went into labour on the bus and our hero was instructed by the bus driver to “deliver the baby” because he was white and therefore educated. And so he did!  He had only a small first aid kit and instruction book but nature took its course and he delivered a healthy boy, who was then named after him.  A story of witnessing the miracle of life, which left him a changed man. We were honoured to play back his story for him.

It struck me that, during all the shows in the last ten years, what an astounding array of people have told their stories at our shows, from children as young as 9 to men like our recent teller approaching 90.  Young, old, men, women, city, country, shy, gregarious, happy, sad, gay, straight, married, single, divorced, parents, religious, spiritual, musical, political, poetic, theatrical, workers, teachers, professors, advocates, unemployed, disabled, disadvantaged, travellers, homebodies, searchers, finders, winners, losers, hopefuls and a hundred more.

And they all have one thing in common. They are human and they have stories.  And luckily for us they share those stories.  When we bear witness to another’s story, we create community.  Together we search for meaning in our lives, we discover common threads and we find connection.  It’s magical.  It’s storytelling that’s been going on for millennia. It’s the power of playback theatre. And it’s ageless.