Hello, Healesville! to share local tales

Michael Cathcart and Hannie Rayson on the streets of Healesville. Picture: JED LANYON

Hello, Healesville! will be a celebration of life of the town of Healesville as locals share the stories of those who have lived around them at The Memo on Saturday 1 June and Sunday 2 June.

Award winning playwright Hannie Rayson and theatre director Michael Cathcart moved to Healesville three months ago and began working with Healesville residents to collect and workshop their stories to create a compelling portrait of Healesville.

“We have been oversubscribed with very generous Healesville people wanting to tell us their story,” Ms Rayson said.

“Then we helped people shape their stories into three minute sequences, we had a rule that we didn’t want people to bang on forever, you’d just have your moment in the spotlight,” she said.

“It’s amazing what you can tell in three minutes, no one has really been crestfallen by this idea… it’s quite a long time to have three minutes on stage,” said Mr Cathcart.

Mr Cathcart said that they found that the people have a very deep affection to their town.

“The punch line of almost everybody’s story is that no matter how hard my life has been that Healesville is my home or Healesville is the place where I found healing,” he said.

“It’s going to be a really polished, joyful celebration of Healesville’s heritage, stories and its hopes.

“No one can tell the stories of Healesville better than the people of Healesville themselves,” Mr Cathcart said.

“We’ve rehearsed everyone individually. We’ve spent hours in the rehearsal rooms with people who have never been on a stage before,” Ms Rayson said.

The pair revealed that actor Michael Veitch will be making a special appearance for Hello, Healesville!

“We’ve got a few actors to cover for blokes who are either unavailable or who have turned out to be shy,” Mr Cathcart said.

“There is a gender issue here. Women are happy to speak in the theatre, but some men are troubled by how a theatrical appearance might compromise their masculinity.

Ms Rayson said to lookout for another surprise appearance from Healesville CFA Captain Graeme Bates.

“I don’t want to give away any secrets, but it’s going to be a startling moment in the history of theatre when Graeme steps onto that stage, Mr Cathcart said.

“It’s going to be exclusive to Healesville. It doesn’t matter how much we get badgered by Broadway or The West End, we are not taking it there.”

To book tickets, visit http://ach.yarraranges.vic.gov.au or call 1300 368 333.