With half of this country’s population in Lockdown and the rest of us either in masks or walking on egg shells it’s a little galling to admit that there have been some really good things that have come about due to COVID.
One of those is Theatre Redlands, formed last year during the worst of lockdown, by a group of experienced and passionate individuals who have formed an alliance with Redland Museum to share stories from our past.
Early in the year I attended the performance Women Of Their Word, a “celebration of Australian women poets who captured their times and experiences in verse – insights into what inspired them, the challenges they faced and the contribution they made to Australia’s emerging cultural identity”. Some of the women included Judith Wright, Dame Mary Gilmore, and my personal favourite, Maybanke Anderson. ( Never heard of her? Either had I! Fascinating – look her up.)
Last month Theatre Redlands had a new program on offer with a distinctive Queensland flavour to coincide with June 6th – being Queensland Day, when Queensland officially separated from New South Wales to become its own colony. ( I was taught at school that June 6th was D Day but I digress).
Down Came a Jumbuck is a whimsical theory about how Banjo Paterson might have come to write Australia’s unofficial national anthem ‘Waltzing Matilda’. I particularly enjoyed this given my recent trip to outback Queensland where I visited the Waltzing Matilda Centre in Winton.
Following intermission The Droving Days took the audience to “Pub Redlands”, the area in which I live, to join a group of retired drovers and their mates, reminiscing about horses they’ve known and ridden and tall tales of unlikely characters, all woven through with Banjo Paterson’s timeless ballads.
The recitation of Paterson’s Man From Snowy River was breathtaking. You could have heard a pin drop – the audience was enthralled.
So two things :
1. I am so looking forward to the next production from Theatre Redlands
2. There is an annual Man From Snowy River Bush Festival next April. Who knew??? Added to Must Do List.