Young Artists Going Back in Time

3 Apr

The ‘Bumpy Angels’ cast rehearsing. Picture: Alexandra Bernard

By Alexandra Bernard, Bond University Journalism Student

The ‘Bumpy Angels’ are about to give audiences a trip back to a hidden part of history, in an Australian home for young pregnant women in the 1950s.

Director of the Angels’ Youth Theatre Project, Catarina Hebbard, said it was a story, written by Sue Rider, that needed to be told.

“Unwed mothers were given no choice, which is heartbreaking,” Ms Hebbard said.

“It was almost a stolen generation.”

Ms Hebbard said the main aim of the production is to show a strong idea of truth behind the story.

“The project aims to tell a story that is incredibly layered and relevant and to show a wedge of life that we may have forgotten,” she said.

“I aim to give a voice to the mothers, as well as entertain the audience as the play is heavy in some places, while light in others.”

Ms Hebbard says it has been challenging for the actresses.

“It was a very different society,” she said.

“It is a foreign era and also a foreign body [pregnant], but the girls have been giving it their best shot and rehearsals have been going very well.”

The cast of 10 have been working hard, with four rehearsals a week.

Olivia Bourne, 18, plays Madonna, who she said is a fiery young Italian woman, protective of her culture, but is trying to fit into her Australian life.

“It has been quite challenging to portray my character as she is from a completely different cultural background and tapping into how she felt pregnant in a new country,” she said.

Ms Bourne said she drew on past experiences to help her, having been on a six-week exchange to Italy.

“I have since reflected on my travels and the people I met, in particular the way they spoke English with their thick Italian accent and their physicalising when they spoke,” she said.

Ms Bourne finished high school last year and ‘Bumpy Angels’ is her first project out of school.

“I am incredibly lucky to have been given this opportunity as a recent graduate and the project has been incredible to work on… with so many talented actresses and a creative team that is so supportive,” she said.

Nicola Barrett, 17, having been in numerous musicals, said she was excited by the prospect of something different.

“I had never heard of anything like it and knew that being a part of it would be a truly amazing experience,” Ms Barrett said.

Ms Hebbard was first approached to take on the project by Vicki Buenen, producer at the Gold Coast Arts Centre.

“’Bumpy Angels’ appealed to me because it is a quality piece of Australian theatre with interesting storylines,” she said.

Ms Buenen originally wanted the playwright Ms Rider to direct, but due to scheduling clashes, the pair decided on Ms Hebbard.

“Cat is Brisbane based and has a long list of professional credits to her name, which is the criteria for a Youth Theatre Project,” she said.

“The director must be of a high standard and be practising extensively and professionally, as this is how the Arts Centre chooses to invest in young artists, by exposing them to professionals who will stretch and develop their emerging skills.”

Ms Hebbard said she agreed this was an important part of the project.

“My vision for this project is to achieve a level of exposure for young artists,” she said.

Friends of the Gold Coast Arts member Rebecca Paranthoiene, said they acknowledge the importance of this, having donated through fundraising, hosting workshops for emerging artists and providing a gift fund.

“We support youth programs that will advance and inspire imagination and creativity,” she said.

‘Bumpy Angels’ marks the seventh Youth Theatre Project produced by the Arts Centre and will be held in The Space on April 5,6,7 and 8.


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