Five Questions with Kamarra Bell Wykes

Kamarra Bell-Wykes (Yagera/Butchulla/European) is the director of the reading of STOLEN on the 24th of May to acknowledge National Reconciliation Week.  In 2017, Kamarra was appointed ILBIJERRI’s Creative Director and works as a playwright, performer, director and dramaturge across mainstage and community productions. Kamarra is dedicated to the development of First Nations ways of working across all of her practices.

Q1/  What is it about STOLEN that excites you as a director?
The opportunity to direct STOLEN is such an honour  as I played the role of Ann in the Victorian VCE tour for many years and the work and the experience of performing for so many  young people that had never heard of the Stolen Generation had such a huge effect on me. STOLEN provides so much opportunity for actors through its character transformations, time/place jumps, song, rhythm and movement. Despite its very serious content and message its actually an incredibly fun and enjoyable show to work with.

Q2/  What can audiences expect when seeing the reading?
The magic of STOLEN is that no matter how old you are or where you come from, every single person that sees it finds something they connect with. For First Nations Peoples this is even more so. These are the stories of our old people, of our grandparents and our Aunty’s and Uncles. Whether we like it or not these are stories that have shaped our collective experience. This is just as important for non-indigenous people as the Stolen Generations are part of our shared history. Just from different sides of the fence. I believe that STOLEN has a power because every single time a different Aboriginal person plays one of these characters, they bring with them the perspective of their families and their ancestors which the role is born anew through. I think having the opportunity to have these amazing young people and community members bring their voices and with them their collective old people, the audience can expect to experience a moving and powerful night of theatre seeped in the truth of the historical experiences of the area.

Q3/  The play has been around for 20 years – why do we still need to see/hear it?
The Stolen Generations are still a very recent part of our history and the trans-generational trauma created by these experiences still resonates within our communities and families today. With rates like 2 in 5 Aboriginal children removed from their families (and in some areas even higher) I don’t think there are any First Nations Australians that haven’t been affected in some way. It is crucial that upcoming generations of First Nations and Non-First Nations Australians understand what our old people went through and the impact this had on us. Unfortunately, the rates of First Nations children in care are now reportedly at higher rates than during the official Stolen Generations, this story is not over.

Q4/  You’ve worked in the region before – What do you love about working here?
Its always such a refreshing change to get out the big smoke and get close to the big river. Its such beautiful country up there and to be able to combine my love of theatre and being in the bush is a pretty special privilege. HotHouse is an amazing venue with incredible programs and phenomenal staff and for me it’s a bit of aspiration. I would love to see something like this taking place in my own community. Im always so blown out by the enthusiasm, talent and powerful voices I encounter when working in the space and I have no doubt this experience is going to be just as special.

I am always super excited about staying at the FarmHouse as well, as I believe this such in iconic space in Australia’s art landscape and is filled with so much magic. When I stay there, I know I’m sleeping in the shadows of Kings.

Q5/  What was the piece of theatre that made you think  – “yep that’s for me”?
There are a lot of pieces that have this impact on me but I think most recently I would have to say Future D. Fidel’s Prize Fighter , Dee and Cordelius’ SHIT, and ILBIJERRI’s Beautiful One Day. I think the mark of a great play is one that you still think about years after seeing it and I would have to say that of David Brown’s Eating Ice cream with your eyes closed which I actually saw at HotHouse many many moons ago.

 

Lyn Walis portrait

Artistic Director Says Au Revoir, Not Goodbye

The Board of HotHouse Theatre announces that after more than four years with the Company, Artistic Director/CEO Lyn Wallis will step down from her full-time role at the end of June: for personal reasons, and to pursue other creative endeavours. Lyn will work with HotHouse until new artistic leadership is in place, and will continue in a contract capacity as an Associate Producer until the end of the year providing production
support to the Company and incoming Artistic Director, and shepherding the company’s new independent performance program (Celsius), through its first season.

Lyn has led HotHouse from strength to strength, enabling it to remain one of only a few producing regional theatre companies in Australia. HotHouse Chair Paul Robb said:

“Lyn leaves the Company in excellent health, both artistically and financially. Through leveraging dynamic partnerships with some of Australia’s most accomplished theatre artists and companies, Lyn has significantly expanded our programming profile – and our audience base. Her new work commissions ‘The River at the End of the Road’ by Caleb Lewis and ‘At The Hip’ by Roslyn Oades, were based on local stories and experiences and spoke deeply to the uniqueness of the region, and our community. The establishment of the Celsius performance program by Lyn will leave a long-term legacy for the development of local independent artists. Lyn leaves the
Company with our best wishes and we thank her for the valuable contribution she has made to the Company”.

Lyn Wallis said, “Leading HotHouse through such a dynamic period for the arts in Australia, in partnership with a vibrant regional community, has been one of the richest experiences of my career. I love Albury-Wodonga, and am proud to call it home. I am looking forward to working on a freelance basis and continuing to contribute to this thriving arts community.”

The role of Artistic Director/CEO will be advertised today. A Position Description and other recruitment details can be obtained by contacting HotHouse Theatre Chair Paul Robb at chair@hothousetheatre.com.au or General Manager Michael Huxley: 02 6021 7433 or generalmanager@hothousetheatre.com.au

Ends.

Media contact: Vanessa Keenan, Marketing and Communications Manager 0418 445 131 or vanessa@hothousetheatre.com.au

Lyn Wallis talks about international sensation and puppet-hero, Alvin Sputnik playing 11& 12 October

Lyn Wallis talks about our company-in-residence – The Last Great Hunt

The Last Great Hunt are a Perth-based artist collective who have taken the world by storm with their imaginative and engaging style of theatre making. And they are in residence on the Border for the month of October.

While they’re here, they are performing three of their award winning shows: The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer, Its Dark Outside and Fag/Stag

See all three shows for just $99, find out more here.

Russell Cheek talks to Lyn Wallis about Who Am I …?

Artistic Director Lyn Wallis, caught up with performer and creator of Who Am I …? Russel Cheek about how he turned his real life Sale of the Century adventure into a charming and funny one-man show

Want to know why you should come and see SHIT by Patricia Cornelius?

Artistic Director, Lyn Wallis talks about why you should come and see this award winning production in its only regional season this year.

 

Gin-soaked Cabaret Pours Into HotHouse

Fresh off the plane from a sell-out tour of the UK, Maeve Marsden and Libby Wood take us on a sublime musical journey through the history of ‘mother’s ruin’, aka gin.

Mother’s Ruin: A Cabaret About Gin features music originally performed by Amy Winehouse, Nina Simone, Martha Wainwright, The Popes, The Pretenders and more in a raucous show that tells the tale of gin through stories and song.

Quench your thirst for knowledge with a cabaret performance – with a twist.

HotHouse is thrilled to welcome Public House as Production Partner for Mother’s Ruin: A Cabaret About Gin and, as a result – for one week only – our historic Hume Bank Butter Factory Theatre will be transformed by Public House into a pop-up gin joint: Molly Fink Bar.

Speaking about the experience local audiences will have, Artistic Director Lyn Wallis said “Mother’s Ruin at the Hume Bank Butter Factory Theatre will be a sultry, immersive cabaret experience. It’s a gorgeous show, but we’re also going to have a lot of fun transforming the venue.”

Mother’s Ruin: A Cabaret About Gin plays at the Hume Bank Butter Factory Theatre 21-26 May. Tickets are on sale now with 35% off for groups of ten or more.

Book Now

* This production contains coarse language, and wanton tipsiness.

“Marsden and Wood maintain a spot-on balance of larky humour, bolshy political consciousness, palpable passion for their subject and sheer joie de vivre* * * * – The Scotsman

“Mother’s Ruin is a beautifully distilled cabaret.” – Limelight

Photo by Ian Sutherland

Dive in to The River

The River at the End of the Road cast members Mark Lee, Gabriel Fancourt and Drew Livingston speak about the show.

 
The River at the End of the Road is now playing at the Hume Bank Butter Factory Theatre until Saturday 17th March. Book now
Photo by Kate Williams

Behind the Scenes with the Cast and Crew

HotHouse Artistic Director Lyn Wallis chats with the cast and crew in final rehearsals before the premiere of The River at the End of the Road.

Features original music by Drew Livingston.

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