One River Radio Play writer, Sean Riley, has just finished a tour of discovery through the Murray Darling Basin, commencing in mid-February in Mildura where he met with several community-based cultural groups. The One River Radio Play, ‘My River, Our River, One River’, is a creative collaboration between Sean and a number of community groups and organisations which seeks to unlock secret, forgotten and never-before-told stories of river life.
“My approach to the One River workshops is to try and unlock the power of story-telling in the individual, using the river as another character in the story,” Riley said. “I asked participants to ‘pitch’ me their ideas, not unlike the process used in film-making.” Participants responded to this process very positively. “It was like decanting a vast, strong story,” Riley said. “I told them they had to excavate the ground they walk on, be really truthful, and the result was really emotional but fantastic.” [Pic: Cohuna]
He visited a number of towns along the Murray and its many tributaries, including the Avoca River, which feeds into the Kerang Wetlands. “I fell in love with the places and people and have made some really great new friends and contacts that have promised to have me back to continue the learning,” he said. His final stop on the tour was in Avoca working with the Art of Aging Writers Group. “The stories that they came up with were A-MAZING!” [Pic: Avoca]
Sean will collaborate formally with groups in Mildura, Avoca, Murray Bridge, Finniss, Renmark and Albury-Wodonga to create 10 narrative episodes, with about 50 minutes of finished script. The finished script will be presented as a live stage reading by Riverland Youth Theatre [Renmark], Hothouse Theatre [Albury-Wodonga] and Canberra Youth Theatre over June and July 2013.
If the response to Sean’s Mildura workshop with the Mildura Theatre Company is anything to go by, he will have his work cut out squeezing all the ideas into 50 minutes. “We generally worked in the evening because this time suited everyone, but they wanted to stay up all night!” he said.[All images by Kim Liotta]