Founders Heritage Park, Nelson

17/10/2013 - 27/10/2013

Nelson Arts Festival 2013

Production Details

Found Tales creates theatre amongst the creaking nooks and crannies of Founders Heritage Park, inspired by the buildings themselves, objects within them and Nelson history. 

Each night the audience will be guided around the grounds of Founders, witnessing lost love lingering in the tearooms, death on the ocean and everyday objects becoming macabre puppets. Found Tales brings to life stories of the sea, stories of passion, of war, of crime and more, and discovers tales that have fallen behind the refrigerator of history.

Collaborating for the first time, two celebrated companies, Nelson’s own Body in Space and international production company Three Bridges, invite you to look behind door after door to reveal new tales of old Nelson.

This production takes place in several locations and involves some walking. All performances are indoors but the walks between are outside. Please dress appropriately.

VENUE Founders Heritage Park 

DATES Thurs 17 Oct 6.30pm, Sat 19 Oct 8.30pm, Sun 20 Oct 6.30pm, Fri 25 Oct 8.30pm, Sat 26 Oct 8.30pm, Sun 27 Oct 6.30pm 
DURATION 105 mins including interval 
GA Seating
Earlybird $30, Full $34, Plus service fee
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Theatre , Site-specific/site-sympathetic ,

Unique performance not to be missed

Review by Keran Brady 18th Oct 2013

Found Tales is a combination of 6 stories based on real lives and imagined situations performed in different venues around Founders Heritage Park.  Body in Space actors create characters both real and imagined using different theatre styles to entertain.  Each performance experience is unique for each of the groups that see the show. 

On arrival at Founders Heritage Park we were put into groups and escorted around the different venues by a guide.  Our group starts with Lock up when you go which is performed in the Livery stables and is based on the return of soldiers from Vietnam.  Doug Brooke, writer and director, plays Robbie and his brother Mark is played by real life brother Jeff.  This piece is moving and a quiet start to the whole piece.  It is obvious the actors are committed to the story and the characters.  It also highlights the very personal stories and differences with those returning from World War 2. 

We are then ‘invited’ to the Chapel where we become involved in the wedding of Olive to audience member Adam.  This is a fantastic and hilarious example of Improv theatre.  Laura Irish and Isaac Thomas sing ‘Ode to Adam’ who has turned up with his partner to watch the piece but is roped in as the bridegroom at the church door, as are the best man, father of the bride and bridesmaid. 

The rest of us wear hats and choose which side of the family we are on.  The whole audience is enthralled and wonderfully entertained by two very talented improvisation actors and musicians.  Isaac and Laura sing in harmony using words they make up based on descriptions of Adam from his fictional family.  They then exchange vows before singing about Adam’s hobby of gardening!  Again very amusing, the whole thing finishes with Olive marrying the vicar.  I know from talking to other audience groups that this is not how their performances finish.  Do I was a highlight for me and the rest of our group. 

The next venue, The Cottage Hospital, is another piece involving audience participation.  Daniel Allan plays local dentist and phrenologist, A.S. Hamilton, to tell us the life and death story of the Maungataupu Murders.  He uses dental equipment as ‘puppets’ to explain who was involved and what happened.  It is a factual piece but also very entertaining. Allan is a consummate performer who uses his skill to keep an unruly patient (audience member) in place whilst seated in his dentist’s chair.  This is a very informative and excellently performed piece, portraying the right balance of humour and pathos. 

Our final performance in the first half took place in the Railway Tearooms renamed Purgatory Junction where we met Romeo Montague, Roger Saunders, who informed us we had passed on and were waiting to be moved on to the next stage of our life/death journey.  Bridget Saunders, who wrote the script and directed, brilliantly combined Shakespearian quotes with today’s language “Out, out damn tea stain” was a particular favourite.  Roger gave a sterling performance making audience members laugh about his predicament whilst also highlighting the tragedy of waiting for love. 

Following a cup of tea we are taken to see The Boat in the Port Nelson building.  Luke Burke is stunning in a piece written and directed by Daniel Allan. This story takes in the tale of Delaware Bay, as well as incorporating a short story by Frank Sargeson.  I won’t tell you the tale as this would be unfair.  Luke does a brilliant job at close quarters with the audience to tell the story of a modern day Heme who copes with disappointment and betrayal.  Overall I find this a very moving and evocative piece. 

Our final venue is the Maritime Museum for Sea Stories, a piece of installation multi-media.  In the darkened museum with torches we are led through stories from the diaries of the actual immigrants.  This is a wonderful end to the performance as we feel like we are part of the ship, listening and hearing the sounds of the voyage. The ending is really beautiful and again ensures the audience leaves with a feeling of total immersion in the time and place. 

I cannot recommend this highly enough.  No two performances will be the same.  I took my 14 year old daughter and she, like the rest of the audience, was captivated and entranced in equal measure.  Body in Space, Three Bridges and Nelson City Council should be commended for supporting such interesting and entertaining site specific theatre that highlights the beauty and quality of Founders Heritage Park as well as showcasing talented actors both young and older! 

A thoroughly enjoyable hour and a half spent moving from venue to venue which leaves us all talking and thinking on our way home.  Don’t miss this unique performance.


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