The Burning Tree artwork

The Burning Tree

  • 11th Oct 2018 - 13th Oct 2018 to (Everyday)
  • Wollongong
    Building 25.168 Performance Space

Director: Catherine McKinnon

Performed by second year Bachelor of Performance students: Jayden Bode, Samantha Bowyer-Tagg, Ellen Houghton, Ingrid Leighton, Bree-Anna Linsley, James Mcshane, Charmaine Sharp, Max Tassell and Sophie Ward

There has been much talk about extreme weather events and the rapid loss of the planet's biodiversity. Climate scientists have claimed the destruction of our species in future predictions. When so much is happening globally, how do we go about addressing things locally?

In 2011, Melbourne-born Miranda Gibson (who had moved to Tasmania to protest against logging of old growth forests) climbed 60 metres into the high branches of a Eucalyptus Delegantensis growing in the Tyenna Valley. Miranda lived up in the tree (without a break) for 14 months, until a fire forced her down. Her tree-sitting protest resulted in the World Heritage Committee announcing that 170,000 hectares of the Tyenna Forest would be heritage listed. The heritage area included the tree Miranda had been living in. But what was it like to live up in a tree for so long? What were the costs? What did Miranda discover about herself, trees, birds, animals, insects, and the world around her?

THE BURNING TREE ensemble, including second year students from the Bachelor of Performance and the Bachelor of Creative Arts - Theatre and third year production students, have devised an ensemble performance piece inspired by research into Miranda Gibson's protest. Apart from research into Miranda Gibson's actions, second year student actors were also asked to sit with a tree, once a week, for two hours. They were required to research the tree and observe the environment around it; to reflect on their lives, and the place of trees in their lives. From here, and with assistance from THE BURNING TREE creative team, they crafted stories that have been braided through the Miranda Gibson tale.

THE BURNING TREE is a sometimes funny, sometimes tragic, sometimes magical performance piece involving fog, harnesses, music and a hell of a lot of bird noise! Come share with us.

This project involved discussions and showings with the other half of the second year Bachelor of Performance and Bachelor of Creative Arts - Theatre production group. That project, WEATHER MONSTER, is directed by Linda Luke and opens Thursday 18 October.

Writer and director, CATHERINE MCKINNON teaches into both Creative Writing and Performance at UOW. She has a particular passion for developing new works by Australian writers. Her own plays have been performed nationally. In 2016 “HURT”, was directed by Kim Hardwick for Whitebox Theatre, playing at Venue 505 (Sydney), before being remounted in 2017 for Hothouse Theatre (Wodonga, VIC.) and Sydney’s Belvoir. “HURT” was also nominated for a 2017 AWGIE Award. Her novel, “STORYLAND”, was published by Harper Collins in 2017. In 2015, she was a co-winner of the Griffith Review Novella 111 Award.

Stage Managers: Meaghan Barton, Thomas Doyle, Nathan Edwards and Nikita Marshall
Production Manager: Tyler Fitzpatrick
Lighting design: Thomas Doyle (mentor: Karen Norris)
Sound design: Meaghan Barton, James Mcshane, Max Tassell

Season: Thursday 11 – Saturday 13 October, 2018, at 8pm nightly
Location: Building 25.168 Performance Space, University of Wollongong
Tickets: $23, $16 conc., $12 TAEM students

WARNINGS: coarse language and smoke effects

IMAGE CREDIT: Meaghan Barton