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From Footprint to Footplate - celebrating 40,000 + 175 years of culture in the Adelaide Hills
25 Nov 2014
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Over three weekends in November 2014, the history of the Adelaide Hills region will be brought to life on stage at the Mount Barker SteamRanger Heritage Railway Station as part of the 40,000 + 175th anniversary – Ink Pot Arts’ From Footprint to Footplate.

Penned by playwright Brian Fox and directed by Jo-anne Sarre, the fun, informative show will provide glimpses into our stories from the footprint of the Peramangk to the surging of steam engines.

Fostering a sense of community has been a focus of Ink Pot Arts in their past ten years of theatre making, and this production marks a significant step for the organisation. The partnership with SteamRanger Heritage Railway brings history alive in a way that will excite, delight and inspire children and historians alike and highlights stories untold for many generations.

“Reflecting on our stories within the historic station venue is ideal” remarks Ms Sarre. “As past meets present and cultures collide, we learn about the struggles and accomplishments which have shaped our region. Sharing this fosters a sense of place and who we are, so as we celebrate the 175 years of European settlement it is fitting to nurture our local identity. Ink Pot Arts is particularly excited to have local Peramangk and Ngarrindjeri elder Henry Rankine opening the show.”

Writer Brian Fox has worked hard to balance what is often presented as dry historical fact, offering the tales through entertaining theatre devices. The show touches on the traditional life of the Peramangk, negotiations in Britain to enable free settlement plus the founding and development of the Adelaide Hills’ towns of Mt Barker, Hahndorf and Nairne. For train enthusiasts, the history of the rail from horse-drawn trams to the creation of the SteamRanger Heritage railway is featured in the latter part of the show.

“How history is presented depends on how the record is interrogated” says Mr Fox. “I hope I have managed to present the story of Mount Barker in a way that does justice to the peoples . . . all of the peoples who helped shape it.”

Community performers of all ages alongside professional artists have worked together to create this unique theatre experience. Performers include Hills’ dwellers Jacqy Phillips, Cliff Stoddart, Bronnie James, Jesse Butler, Sophie Langley and Tim Edhouse. Ink Pot Arts theatre director and actor David Hirst will also be performing alongside Ink Pot’s youth acting ensemble and younger students.

“The show has evolved over many months of research and development” continues Ms Sarre, “but don’t come expecting a period drama. It appeals to all ages, peppered with delightful ditties and slapstick humour provided by our talented performing team.”

Funded by Arts SA, the District Council of Mount Barker and The Beerenberg Foundation. Sponsorship includes 12 local businesses.

Total budget: $109,500 including $62,000 in-kind (that's community support for you!!!)
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