If you’ve followed our trip from Wales to New South Wales on social media, you’ll appreciate how much we managed to fit into a three and a half week visit, it was an incredible adventure!
It was impossible not to ponder on the immense size of the planet, travelling for many hours and through two nights on the way to receiving a fantastic welcome at Riverside Theatre in Parramatta, Western Sydney. At a welcome afternoon tea, we heard the first of several ‘Welcome to Country’ greetings, which recognise and thank the traditional owners of the land – in most cases on our trip, the Wiradjuri people, one of around 250 Aboriginal nations. As we shared stories, music and language from Wales, in house concerts, workshops and informal as well as full performances of Dreaming the Night Field, we were privileged to learn more about the diverse cultures of people, nature and history in all the places we went.
Travelling through the Blue Mountains, the forest seemed to stretch on for an eternity. In Bathurst, we woke up every morning not only to bright sun, but also to the carolling Australian magpies – which sound curiously like R2D2. On the way back from an informal performance in old goldrush town Hill End, we drove slowly to keep watch for the kangaroos, always present in the twilight. We stopped the van to look up at the different night skies of the Southern Hemisphere, more stars than we could remember ever seeing before. We travelled to coal mining town Lithgow, where Michael Harvey shared a story of the origins of coal, to Parkes, home to the radio telescope, part of 2019’s special anniversary of the moon landing. From Orange to Kandos, BMEC in Bathurst to the Charles Sturt University, everywhere we went we were so grateful for the warm welcomes we received.
One of the undoubted highlights for all of us was a day at the Wiradjuri Study Centre in Condobolin, where performance turned into cultural exchange –sharing food, music, art, language and dance with people at the centre, learning more about the seven sisters ridge, close by, centuries of cultural traditions and exciting contemporary work on language, art and culture.
We met so many people for whom Welsh stories and song had special meaning. We also brought back many memories, new learning and new friendships which we look forward to developing, even at a distance. Plus of course more photos and stories than we ever imagined! We’re looking forward to sharing more in the weeks and months to come, as the trip informs and strengthens the work we’re so thankful to be able to do.
Thanks to everyone who was part of this voyage, particularly Tracey Callinan and Arts OutWest, Kylie Shead and BMEC, Tennille Dunn and everyone at the Wiradjuri Centre, Liz Kleinberg and Robert Love at Riverside Theatre, Wales Arts International and Arts Council of Wales, plus our partners Felin Uchaf, Aberystwyth, Aberytstwyth Arts Centre and Arts Council England.
For a real sense of the trip, take a look through the selection of photographs below (click the first one to view as a gallery) and we’ll have more detailed content from our trip to share over time, so make sure you watch this space…
Adverse Camber Producer