"The performance itself was the most interesting act of rebellion and the incredible people within it defied all labelling. They were real."
<Real Time Arts Magazine review of the 2015 theatre show>
In the first year of the Rebel Elders project, a beautiful movement based performance was created with eight local elder folk around the theme of 'rebellion' (an obvious choice for Ballarat!). The project took place throughout the year in three stages:
Stage 1: Rose met regularly with the eight elders (aged 71-93 years old) and interviewed them about rebellious events in their lives. And what a great collection of stories were recorded! Sue jumped on a plane and ran away to Tasmania as a teenager; Helen threw scissors across the classroom; Uncle Murray snuck into the bull's paddock; Trevor was an expert petrol thief and Tom stole Violet Crumbles!
Stage 2: The elders met with a group of local young musicians (aged 14 to 30 years old) and everyone listened to the audio recordings of the rebellion tales. The musicians chose particular stories they could relate to and set about writing music to go with them. A great collection of music was recorded including hiphop, instrumental piano, grunge guitar and pop ballads. Rose then edited the stories and music together ready to use as the soundtrack for the next stage.
Stage 3: Working with choreographer Michelle Heaven, the elders met for a month to devise and rehearse a movement based performance based on their own stories. No spoken lines needed to be learnt as all the stories were part of the prerecorded soundtrack. The elders just needed to focus on their physical presence on stage. With very limited experience of performing, our elders did an amazing job, confidently standing tall and proud of their own stories. The show was performed twice at MADE (Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka) as part of Victorian Seniors Festival.
COLLABORATING ARTIST: Choreographer/Director: Michelle Heaven
WITH SUPPORT FROM: City of Ballarat Positive Ageing <Rose Young, Positive Ageing Development Officer> and Victorian Seniors Festival.
AWARDS: Oral History Victoria - Innovation Award 2015 / Highly Commended for a National Award for Local Government (Excellence in Community Engagement & Participation) 2015