Yellow Line Theatre Productions is hard at work preparing for the premiere of their new Australian written musical Bakery Hill – An Australian Rebellion. With the musical not far away, the production team have begun a a fundraising campaign via Indiegogo in hopes that an educational tour of the show can be possible as well as being able to have the show’s soundtrack professionally recorded.
Director Benjamin Roorda sat down to talk through his experience of directing an original Australian production and why audiences should come to see the show.
What has been your most rewarding experience as a director?
Prior to the beginning of the rehearsal process for Bakery Hill, we held a series of one to one meetings with each cast member for the show. Each meeting was the culmination of many hours of research across a broad range of historic sources in order to introduce each cast member to the historic person they would be depicting on stage. In these meetings, we examined every piece of information we knew about the character from their birth until their death. Through detailed analysis we uncovered who these people truly were and why they made the choices they made. To watch the cast’s surprise and wonder as their entire perception changed and they began to see the human beings behind the facts and history was the most rewarding process for me.
What was it that enticed you to take on the story of the Eureka Stockade?
I was first approached by James and Russell Tredinnick in 2019 and asked to Direct Bakery Hill, a story about the Eureka Rebellion. I remember thinking to myself, “Oh yeah I know that story” and when I read the script and did some initial research, I realised just how wrong I was. What I found was a true Australian story that was so real, raw, had such depth, heart and soul and people hardly know anything about it. For me, I had no choice in the matter. I had been given the precious gift of a story that I had an uncontrollable passion and desire to share with others, the way it had been shared with me.
What do you perceive to be the main tasks and challenges with directing this historical adaptation?
I believe there are two primary tasks and challenges that any Director is faced when approaching a historical adaptation. The first is research, research and more research. A historic piece is an intricate jigsaw of a thousand tiny details that when put together create a complex and complete picture of the people, places and events within the show. The second challenge is finding the right team. Assemble a team who are either experts in the relevant historical field or are passionate enough about the work to become experts. In both respects, I have been extraordinarily lucky as a Director to be working alongside such an incredible team of people.
What is the artistic vision, and what are you hoping to achieve in terms of style?
The artistic vision was clearly defined for me in an early discussion with the writers where, when discussing an aspect of the work, a powerful phrase was used: it’s just people. From that moment, that phrase was our guide for the work and how we chose to present it. Australians are taught the Eureka story in primary school and, like most history, it boils down to an impersonal collection of facts and figures. We aim to re-examine and challenge aspects of the existing narrative using humanity as our focus. “We thought we would be heroes” is a line that is sung by the whole cast at one point in the production and I think it sums up the presentation of this story, it is just a collection of people trying to be the hero in the best and most flawed way they know how.
What can the audience expect from this production?
Expect to question many things you thought to be true about the Eureka story and the people involved. Expect to reconsider what a Musical is and what can be. Expect details, we are not only sharing the Eureka story with you but the stories of every individual involved will be shown in this living breathing world if you but take the time to see them. Most importantly, expect to feel, to be moved deeply, passionately and entirely.
What is a way audiences can be more involved with Bakery Hill going into the future?
Bakery Hill – An Australian Rebellion is an original work from a Not-For-Profit Association and we need your help! We are asking for your financial assistance to this show through our Indiegogo fundraising campaign. Your donation will help us renew ‘Bakery Hill’ for an education specific season, touring the show to schools across regional NSW and Australia. With your contribution, we could record an original cast album in a professional studio allowing the reach of our own home-grown story to transcend globally and help us mitigate the additional costs and impacts of Covid-19. We have some great perks alongside contribution amounts from customised accessories, signed copies of original script drafts to a personalised Blacksmith experience. We believe that this is a story that not only should be told but has to be told and we need your help to tell it
TICKETS ON SALE NOW
Bakery Hill – An Australian Rebellion by Yellow Line Productions
Bryan Brown Theatre, Bankstown, NSW
Limited Season Only
April 15 // 7:30pm
April 16 // 2:00pm & 7:30pm
April 17 // 2:00pm & 7:30pm
Adults // $45pp
Concession // $35pp
10+ Group // $40pp
BUY TICKETS HERE
Patrons can support Yellow Line Theatre by donating to their Indiegogo campaign here.
The creative team also have begun a documentary series on the creation of the show which you can see all of here.