After three years of planning and working on the production, Mother made its debut last month at the Gasworks Arts Park and is now on tour all over Victoria and Tasmania. The team of designers (Kat Chan on set, props and costumes Tom Willis on lights and Darius Kedros on sound) along with Ainsley Kerr as SM and Tour Manager and the incomparable Noni Hazlehurst have made this an incredible experience and I am very proud of their work and delighted that audiences are responding with sold out houses all over. I will be re-joining the tour in Tasmania from mid July.
Due to our work commitments, Noni and I rehearsed this show on and off over a three month period in three different states and in many diverse locations: a school hall on Tamborine Mountain, a meeting room in Benalla, a studio space in Albert Park, a kitchen in the inner eastern suburbs of Sydney. We are deeply grateful to Tony Smith and his team at Gasworks who provided a home for us when we really needed one and who supported us so well during our production week. I would also like to thank and acknowledge the team at Regional Arts Victoria lead by Kane Forbes: Dale Packard, Ella Bucovas, Rosie Dwyer and Michaela Nutt. RAV have supported this project since 2013 and continue to work on the tour’s logistics and activities with great professionalism. And to Sue Muggleton for all her work on logistics for Noni.
Some remarkable experiences so far:
- listening to the buzz of the room in the foyer at Gasworks on opening night and the sound of the cheers during the curtain call
- meeting the women from Wyndham, Footscray and Moonee Ponds working on the front lines of domestic violence and homelessness. At Wyndham, a wonderful result of our workshop was that these women were able to meet collectively as a group for the first time and they shared contacts, numbers etc. with a plan to continue to meet, share ideas and resources and try to help each other.
- meeting and working with the Year 11 and 12 students at Werribee Secondary College who were so smart and welcoming
- watching the great leadership of Ross LeClerc at Wyndham when they had a power blackout and had to cancel a sold out show. Sitting in the dark dressing rooms with Noni in costume as Christie looking out onto the dark streets was something I will never forget: the show has been rescheduled for July 29 and every one of the 480 people Ross had to turn away is coming back! As am I.
- sitting in the box at Clocktower watching Noni hold 505 people in the palm of her hand as she performed the play: this was Clocktower’s first sold out drama show in its 15 year existence
The tour is winding its way across Northern Victoria as I write this at my new desk on Tamborine Mountain in Queensland. I am looking forward to seeing the show in Tasmania in a week and a half, in particular reconnecting with Noni and Ainsley.