CELL 26 celebrates stories of Ulumbarra Theatre

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A new audio work that celebrates the many stories of Ulumbarra Theatre opens this weekend.

The audio work has been created over the past six months by award-winning documentary theatre maker Roslyn Oades and local musician Eliza Hull, who have interviewed 20 Bendigo locals with a direct connection to the site of Ulumbarra Theatre.

Their interview subjects include Traditional Owners, members of the ex-prison community and current theatre staff.

The 30-minute audio work combines interviews, field recordings and original composition by Eliza Hull, and is installed in a restored prison cell at Ulumbarra Theatre. Visitors to CELL 26 can put on headphones, sit or lie down on a prison bed and listen to the voices of those who were there before them.

CELL 26 director Roslyn Oades said the layers of stories at Ulumbarra were incredibly powerful.

“The old Bendigo Prison was only decommissioned in 2006, so the living history of the gaol is still very present in Bendigo,” Ms Oades said.

“With the two striking scarred trees marking the entrance, the Traditional Owners feel very present on the site too. As a documentary maker, I could have made three documentaries from the many moving first-hand stories we collected.”

CELL 26 will be launched at Ulumbarra Theatre on Sunday December 10 with an afternoon tea for the project’s participants and associated partners, after which the work will be open to the public.

CELL 26 will be available to patrons and the general public one hour before any event on the Ulumbarra Theatre main stage, as well as during intervals, and is free of charge.

CELL 26 was supported by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria; the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, arts funding and advisory body Performing Lines and the City of Greater Bendigo.

For more information on the artists go to roslynoades.com and elizahull.com.


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