Stories from the Lake

THROUGH YOUNG EYES: Performers from Tantrum Youth Arts rehearse for Mapping the Lake.
THROUGH YOUNG EYES: Performers from Tantrum Youth Arts rehearse for Mapping the Lake.

IT’S not surprising, given that the show’s name is Mapping the Lake, that audience members will be handed a map of the performance area when they arrive in the Booragul foreshore park that houses Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery.

The school student cast members will guide the watchers as they move between the six places where the action takes place, with the story telling including song and dance, amazing and amusing action, and multi-media installations.

The venues will appropriately include an Aboriginal site known as “the meeting place”, a jetty, a flat piece of ground adjacent to moored boats, a garden, and a significant sculpture near the gallery, with a large ground map of Lake Macquarie that was put together by an art gallery team at the final place.

Mapping the Lake, which looks at the ways young people see the lake and the impact it has on their lives and thoughts, was developed by Tantrum Youth Arts in partnership with the art gallery, and support from Toronto High School, Valentine Public School and Ngarrama Productions. Eighty young people were involved in putting it together, with guidance from emerging and professional artists, including a technical team from Hunter TAFE theatre production students. The show features 45 young performers.

Tantrum’s artistic director, Lucy Shepherd, came up with the concept of Mapping the Lake two years ago. Shepherd, who works at Toronto High School, received enthusiastic support from Lake Macquarie Youth Advisory Council when she put the idea to its members.

The show has four young storytellers, who serve as the audience guides, with each delivering a short monologue arising from their experiences when they greet the watchers.

Meghan Mills, a storyteller first seen in a tree, reveals the lessons she learnt growing up near the lake. Asha Osborne talks about camping on the shore and trying to find mysterious creatures people have told her live in the lake. Taylor Reece, who is fond of fish and chips, explains how compelling it is to map out where all the fish and chips shops are around the lake. Summer Kelso looks at climate change and its impact on the lake today and in the future.

The background work done by young people included Valentine Public School students developing colourful self-portraits that are seen by the audience.

The professional involvement in the 90-minute show, will include lighting at each site by Lyndon Buckley and music composed by Hugh Jones.

Mapping the Lake can be seen nightly at 5.30pm and 7.30pm from April 28 to April 30. Tickets: $25, conc/child/student $15. Bookings: