Power of imagination

A HEARTWARMING tale of a tiny man with a love for writing will play at the Albany Entertainment Centre next week and director Luke Kerridge said audiences can expect a journey of the imagination, the heart and the full emotional spectrum.

Bambert’s Book of Lost Stories follows Bambert, a teeny man portrayed by a puppet, whose only companions are the characters he creates in his stories.

He decides to send his stories out into the world on little balloons, in the hope they will find a home.

He asks the finders of the balloons to return the stories with a stamp, to show where they have landed, but when no stories return, Bambert’s hope fades.

Kerridge said the great gift of the Barking Gecko Theatre show is seeing the world through Bambert’s eyes.

“People who are a little bit different sometimes have the benefit of seeing things other people can’t,” he said.

“In Bambert’s case, I think he has some great insights to offer us about the beauty of moving slowly, the value of inner reflection and the power of imagination over reality.

“Bambert’s stories take you across the globe… some of them are bright and fun, some of them dark and melancholy, but they are all full of hope.

“Audience members have often described the show as an emotional workout!”

Bambert’s Book of Lost Stories was adapted for the stage by Kerridge and Dan Giovannoni from the original story by Reinhardt Jung, and features puppetry combined with real life actors.

Kerridge said he initially found the puppetry element quite challenging.

“I remember our early rehearsals felt so technical; it was constant problem-solving as the team tried to develop the style and perfect the physical score,” he said.

“However, over time this also became the most enjoyable part.

“To watch Bambert come to life in the hands of Tim Watts (our lead puppeteer) was really thrilling.

“I still marvel at how effortless it all seems now, but that really wasn’t the case in the beginning.”

For artistic director Matt Edgerton, Bambert’s Book of Lost Stories was his first show with the theatre company.

“When Luke brought this story to me, I was incredibly excited by his vision for the show,” he said.

“I was the dramaturg on the show, which meant that I worked really closely with Luke and his co-writer Dan Giovannoni as they crafted the script.”

Edgerton said he was very proud of the result.

“It felt like it was a story whose central theme was the transformative power of imagination and art – the idea that even if you’re small, you can accomplish amazing things,” he said.

“These themes still feel absolutely right for Barking Gecko Theatre and what we’re all about.”

Tickets for the June 30 show at the AEC are still available and can be purchased through the box office or online via Ticketek.

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Beyond the Lyons’ den

ALBANY dentist and landscape photographer Mike Lyons sorted through 5000 images from his recent Iceland trip to find his select few for his upcoming exhibition.

Lyons joined landscape and bird photographers for two workshops and explorations throughout Iceland in February and March and documented his favourite views through his Nikon lens.

He battled chilly winter conditions to find the “landscapes within landscapes” he was searching for.

“One time, we had an hour and a half walk across a glacier,” he said.

“But it was so worth it; I love photography and I love Iceland.

“I’d been there before in autumn, but I wanted to go back for winter because I really wanted to get into those ice caves, which you can only get to in winter.”

Lyons’ work has captured the Northern Lights, ice caves, wildlife and snowy landscapes, and each piece has a certificate to recognise its individuality and limited-edition status.

These works will be on display at Vancouver Arts Centre from June 29 until July 7.

“I printed them all myself, because I’m a dentist and therefore a control freak,” Lyons laughed.

“How are the colours? Do they look real? Because I’m actually colour blind.

“Some of them are six or seven photos blended, but I don’t like to do too much in post-editing.”

Many of Lyons’ photos were taken in hidden locations and of sections of landscape he said other photographers on his trip ignored.

“There was this beautiful waterfall and the light was hitting it, and so everyone was taking photos of that,” he said.

“But I looked down and I saw these sticks, and the guide said he’d move the sticks for me, but I said, no, I want the sticks! They are exquisite!”

His ice cave photos were also taken in places others dared not venture.

“The guide just said to me, go as far in as you can, and so I did,” Lyons said of his ice cave adventures.

“I was the only one who got those photos.”

Lyons has his sights set on Norway, Chile, Iceland, parts of America, Tasmania and the Pilbara next; some for a second visit, others for a new adventure.

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Going solo in Mt Barker

PLANTAGENET artist Heather Roberts has avoided doing her housework for a month to make sure all her paintings are ready for the opening of her first solo exhibition this weekend.

Simply titled Going Solo, Roberts’ independent display will feature wildlife depictions in watercolour, acrylic, pastels, oils and mixed media, and will be set up in the Art Chatter Gallery at Strike Me Pink Garden Centre.

She told The Weekender she is often inspired by her travels when creating her artworks.

“I’m quite passionate about saving the animals and I love gardening; I’m a very keen gardener,” she said about her flora and fauna pieces.

“My husband and I volunteered in Africa at a wildlife park and at a Thailand elephant rescue place, plus we went to Japan, so I get a lot of influence from there.”

Roberts said despite having exhibited her work publicly for many years, she is nervous about going solo for the first time.

“It’s fairly nerve-wracking, there will be so many people looking at what’s mine,” she said.

“But it’s exciting too.

“I’ve got about 25 different paintings, a lot which I’ve done in the past month, so I haven’t done any housework!

“My husband has helped out a lot and looked after me; he’s been very supportive.”

Going Solo will officially open this Saturday at 2pm and be on show until June 29.

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Innovative tree change

EMERGING and established artists are being encouraged to submit an expression of interest into a City of Albany art project involving a dead tree in the Ellen Cove seating area.

In conjunction with Vancouver Arts Centre, the City is inviting people to take an “innovative approach” to making the tree a “permanent and exciting component” of the area.

Manager for City Reserves Jacqui Freeman said the tree recently died off and its roots are embedded in the seating area’s retaining walls, so rather than try to remove it, she thought to put the idea out to the community to make the tree a point of interest.

“It’s an opportunity for people who don’t have their artwork out there to have a public art space,” she said.

Vancouver Arts Centre team leader Amber Cordon said she is keen to hear from both emerging and established artists putting forward their ideas about how they would like to see the tree take shape.

“It’s a really lovely family spot here,” she said.

“So, we would be really interested to hear from art groups who want to work with community members, as well as see art designs sensitive to place, such as having a focus on the use of the area and cultural history.

“We welcome all artists, especially emerging artists.”

The budget for the project is $2000 and the artwork must be completed by September 30.

You can express your interest by submitting your idea to indrag@albany.wa.gov.au or by handing in a hard copy by 4pm on May 28.

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Carvings on show

MULTIPLE generations of woodcarvers and painters will be among a group of indigenous artists exhibiting their Anangu culture-themed artwork displayed for the next three months at the Museum of the Great Southern.

The Punuku Tjukurpa exhibition opened last Friday and celebrates the stories and laws of the Anangu people – the traditional owners of Uluru-Kata Tjuta and the surrounding land in the Northern Territory.

Artist Niningka Lewis is part of the project and said she was happy to see the artwork travel among the broader community.

“It is good that our carvings should go out to the world for all to see,” she said.

“People can see and understand how things are made and that we have a lot of memories [in our collection].”

Great Southern Museum regional manager Rachael Wilsher-Saa said Punuku Tjukurpa showcases a rich cultural history.

“There are 88 punu (carved objects made of wood) featuring burnt designs, sculptural works, 2D pieces and specially produced audio and video footage on display,” she said.

“The mobile app that accompanies the exhibition also provides deeper engagement with the diverse works through audio descriptions of selected objects, a walking tour and educational activities.”

Aboriginal Community Learning Officer for the Museum of the Great Southern Vernice Gillies said the exhibition is extremely important, as it brings a “wholly Aboriginal flavour” of artwork to Albany.

“To bring central Australia to all of Australia, and for [Anangu artists] to be able to share what they do with the rest of Australia… it’s absolutely spectacular,” she said.

“It’s just stunning; I get shivers looking at it.”

The exhibition will remain in Albany until July 29.

You can download the mobile app Ms Wilsher-Saa referred to by searching ‘Punuku Tjujurpa’ in Google Play or the Apple Store.

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Horror show crowd in stitches

DON’T feed the plants was the lesson theatre-goers took home on Friday night after the opening of Albany Light Opera and Theatre Company’s rendition of Little Shop of Horrors.

Based on the off-Broadway musical and subsequent 1986 horror comedy film, the storyline followed young florist assistant Seymour, who discovered a mysterious plant demanding human blood in order to grow.

After bending to the plant’s will and feeding him, Seymour battles his inner self and is forced to face the reality of the fame and fortune the plant gives him, while killing people to feed the plant.

Theatre debutant Graham Ayres was a stand-out element of the show voicing Audrey II, the killer plant.

His singing and dialogue made Audrey II come to life and become a powerful character in the show, despite only piping up for a couple of songs.

Tom Croucher proved his acting repertoire abilities playing young, bumbling Seymour, having previously played the more sombre Mr Banks in ALOTCo’s Mary Poppins production.

The knowing grin of Darian Le Page made him tick all the boxes playing cheeky dirtbag Orin Scrivello DDS, and his skit with Todd McGregor (Bernstein) left the crowd in stitches.

As usual, the ALOTCo crew ran a tight ship and performed a seemingly faultless night of entertainment.

Director Airell Hodgkinson and his team should be commended for their work in bringing Little Shop of Horrors to life.

Performances are running throughout May and tickets can be purchased online or in-store through Paperbark Merchants.

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Albany Sinfonia plays with fire

ALBANY Sinfonia instrumentalists are bringing fiery energy to their upcoming concert hitting Albany and Denmark next week.

Fire will be performed at Wesley Uniting Church on May 18 and at Denmark Civic Centre on May 19. An additional children’s concert and a Meet the Orchestra event will also take place earlier in the afternoon at Denmark Civic Centre.

Musical director Neville Talbot said the performance would include the likes of the Firebird Suite, Mendel and the Royal Fireworks Music composition.

“There’s fun, serious and eclectic music, and a bit of dance music,” he said.

“By being in a more intimate setting like Wesley Church, it will create a more immersive performance with less bells and whistles; we’ll be more exposed to the audience.”

Mr Talbot said the concert would cover nearly 360 years of orchestral music, and there should be something for everyone to enjoy.

Tickets can be purchased online via trybooking.com or at the door if they are available.

The next major concert for Albany Sinfonia will be a combined effort with the Philharmonic South West from Bunbury and the City of Fremantle Symphony Orchestra in September.

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Birds head to the mountain

TICKETS are now on sale for Albany vocal ensemble Bird on a Wire’s latest concert, Up to the Mountain.

The group will perform on May 23 and 24 at the Museum of the Great Southern’s Co-Op Building, and musical director Teresa Hughes says the show will feature an eclectic repertoire of music.

“We’ve got jazz, gospel, sacred music and contemporary,” she said.

“We are working on a Queen number at the moment.”

The all-adult performance choir plays for their fans at least four times a year at concerts and charity events, with their latest calendar update including the Denmark Festival of Voice set for June.

Ms Hughes says Up To The Mountain will feature arrangements in both acapella and piano accompaniment settings.

“We have a rich sound,” she said.

“We’ve got a varied repertoire and the singers just have fun.

“We are a very joyful group.”

Tickets are just $20 and can be purchased at Uptown Music.

The ticket proceeds will go towards a Youth Scholarship Fund Ms Hughes is starting, which she says will help young, up-and-coming singers pursue vocal training.

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Artists reflect life

CAPTURING light and memories in their respective mediums was the aim for Albany Art Group artists in the lead-up to their latest exhibition.

Upon Reflection will be on display at the Albany Town Hall from May 19 to 26 and is open from 9.30am to 5pm daily.

Albany Art Group president Suzanne Randall said the exhibition will incorporate more than 200 artworks from 28 different artists.

“It’s a revolving exhibition,” she said.

“When someone purchases a piece, that artist brings another artwork to replace it, so the exhibition is always well worth a revisit.”

Ms Randall said there will be creations made from ink pencil, acrylics, oils and watercolours, as the exhibition focuses on paintings and drawings.

To encourage young working artists to join the group, Ms Randall said Albany Art Group has classes at Vancouver Arts Centre on Saturdays from 10.30am to 12.30pm, so emerging artists can have the opportunity to join the group around their work hours.

If you are interested in joining, you can contact Ms Randall on 0400 591 916.

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Vintage vibe on Vancouver Street

DUST off your tweed jackets, straighten your bow ties and put on your best Victorian era-esque makeup before hopping on your treadly and rolling down to the annual Vancouver Street Festival this Saturday.

The arts and heritage event will kick off at 11am until 4pm and feature gourmet food, vintage bicycles and tricycles, live music, street performers, history walks and an artisan market.

The famous Tweed Ride invites retro cyclists to ride into town at their own pace and in their own time, rather than sticking to a specific route.

Cyclists will, however, have a window of time from 11am until noon to get their photo taken at the festival ahead of the competition judging.

New to this year’s celebrations will be the Noongar Song Project, an idea that stemmed from discussions between Vancouver Arts Centre and local Noongar elder Lester Coyne last year.

The song project will have three elements: a new country-rock band called The Toolbrunup Band, a dance performance from the Deadly Brother Boys, and a new community-devised song based on the ‘Kawaar’ story shared by Averil Dean, which will be sung by a mass choir and accompanied by a string ensemble.

Other live music will include the likes of The Amazing South Coast Big Band, Diggin the Jig, Katie J White, Los Car Keys, Myles Mitchell and Sneetches.

Public Programs Officer for the Museum of the Great Southern Malcolm Traill will lead a history walk between the town square and VAC to explore heritage trees in the area.

Make A Scene Artists Collective will have an exhibition set up in the main gallery of VAC featuring textiles, paintings, origami, photography, illustrations, macrame, jewellery and ceramics.

For the full program of events, visit albany.wa.gov.au/events/vancouver-street-festival.

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