Silkweed have established a reputation for our performances combining music, drama and visuals. Our performances have been showcased at festivals including Ten Days on the Island, Junction Arts Festival, The National and Cygnet Folk Festivals and have toured as part of the Tas Regional arts touring programme in 2011.
"Letters from a Distant Heart" was written in 2011 with the support of a grant from TAS Regional Arts and was performed as a reading at the 2012 Cygnet Folk Festival to a standing ovation.
This piece is a personal and also universal story. It employs actual letters written by my father as a young man heading off to war in 1941 and traverses his story as a Japanese POW until his eventual release. The piece also relates the story of of an Afghan asylum seeker in an Australian Immigration Detention Centre woven through the personal journey of a young woman...the granddaughter of the soldier and visitor to the asylum seeker.
While the letters from my dad are real, the piece is fictional, although closely based on reality. I have visited asylum seekers in Australian detention and listened to many of their heart wrenching stories. What I want to portray in this performance piece is the commonality of human experience and that what binds us as humans is greater than what divides us. Weaving these stories with our music and with slides has proven to be a successful way of immersing the audience in a total experience.
this is from one member of the audience at the reading earlier this year:
"Letters richly amplified the universal need for love, family and security whilst telling one soldier’s story through his own letters and photographs. My own father was a modest man who traveled to war in the earnest belief he was protecting those he loved. He too died too early. His story is important and I now feel it has been told. Letters has an even further reach. It manages to accomplish what the media and support groups have failed to do--reveal the audience’s own social history and connect it with the contemporary issue of those seeking asylum in this country. In doing so Letters does not proselytise but still arouses empathy with refugees rather than avoidance. Suddenly the one unknown soldiers' story is the community’s own. The full house all responded to the human and enduring qualities of the story with their hearts uplifted by the musical score and performance.
It was wonderful to be in the presence of four accomplished women clearly at ease with each other and with full mastery of their musical craft. I look forward to seeing how they progress and grow Letters from a distant heart.
To get this performance out to a wide audience and out on tour, we hope to raise funds to assist us to prepare it for an industry showing in October. The funds will go to paying for a venue, sound engineer and technical requirements as well as hopefully some financial remuneration to the actors involved.
I you can help us get this work out into the wider community, we hope that we get the chance to thank you in person at a performance ....
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