Railway Wonderland cast members perform in the popular production.
Railway Wonderland cast members perform in the popular production. Marc Stapelberg

Railway Wonderland has gone express to Lismore’s heart

FIVE years ago, a call was sent to Northern Rivers creatives via the Byron Bay Writers Festival to submit stories about trains.

The submissions were the basis for a theatre piece developed by actors and director Julian Louis and put on stage for five sold out nights in 2012.

Three years later, the piece - set in the Lismore Train Station - has been produced again for an extended 15-night season.

Railway Wonderland is a treasure of local theatre, a piece that tells the story of Lismore, its people and the community in a series of vignettes, smartly intertwined using dance, singing, dialogue, silent theatre, music, video and audiovisual props.

Despite our unpredictable spring weather, Norpa decided to produce the show at the Lismore train station again, in an all-weather venue. The show's audience is seated on scaffolding set above the tracks, while the dramatic action occurs on the platform and inside the station.

So far, the production can be considered a success, as it has been received with glowing reviews and solid ticket sales. With all Friday and Saturday sessions sold out, your best option is to choose a week night.

Success of the show:

By Tuesday, close to 2600 tickets had been sold for the show, out of a potential 3300 season capacity.

An approximate 45% of tickets sales are from outside the 2480 area, with people are travelling to Lismore from all over the Northern Rivers to see the show.

Michael Cathcart, from ABC Radio National, Books & Arts Daily, recommended the gig.

"If you are within cooee of Lismore NSW, see Railway Wonderland on Lismore station. A glorious show! When I bang on about telling Aus (sic) stories in Aus voices, this is what I'm dreaming of," he said.

Australian playwright Hannie Rayson said: "This is just the kind of theatre I adore: a local story with big universal themes gorgeously told and performed with panache and heart and wit."

Local writer Jesse Blackadder said that "the whole experience was wonderful, from dinner and drinks beforehand, sunset, lining up and chatting to friends and strangers and then filing in to the set. I loved the show.

"Laughed out loud, had tears in my eyes, jiggled around when the music played. (Actor) Katia Molino was my favourite. Se was the heart of the show, but all the performers were great. I floated out of there on an absolute high. Superb night."

Triple J's Sarah Howells highlighted the fact that "so many elements and stories (were) weaved together in the best possible way".

Tickets are still available. To book call 1300 066 772 or visit norpa.org.au

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