A rehearsal with Bonnywood Rising narrator Alan Highfield and musicians Amphibian.
A rehearsal with Bonnywood Rising narrator Alan Highfield and musicians Amphibian. Contributed

Blinky Bill voice actor tells hall history

STORIES about a Prisoner of War, a lucky miner and other Bonalbo residents will come to life next month in the Bonnywood Rising live show.

The show is the end result of Arts Northern Rivers' If These Halls Could Talk project, which brings the region's town halls to life.

Southern Cross University associate professor and media artist, Grayson Cooke, worked with the Bonalbo Hall committee and the local community to produce Bonnywood Rising.

"We've had close to 100 community members involved in this project," he said.

"It's been one of the biggest projects I've been involved in."

He said there were a few reasons why a live cinema experience was picked to tell the story of Bonalbo Hall.

"When I met one of the hall committee members, Alan Highfield, I discovered he was an ex-ABC voice artist," Mr Cooke said.

Mr Highfield was also the voice behind Charlie Goanna, Mr Wombat and Sybella Snake in The New Adventures of Blinky Bill.

"As soon as I heard his voice I knew I had to do something with live narration and that led me to the idea of live cinema."

In terms of the stories featured in the show, you'll have to wait and find out what they are, but Mr Cooke shared a couple of highlights:

"One of the main influences on this project was a story told by Marion Conrow (the hall's community engagement office)," Mr Cooke explained.

"It's the story of a cave of calcite crystals being discovered in a (gold mine).

"Apparently this miner fell into this cave of crystals and later these crystals were dug out ... and ground into glass and turned into projector and cinema lenses."

Those items were then used at Bonalbo Hall.

He described another story about a POW in World War II.

"He tells the story of the night the hall burnt down in 1954 and his son was being born on the other side of the town," Mr Cooke said.

Bonnywood Rising will feature on one night only, December 10, at the Bonalbo and District Memorial Hall.

Doors open 7pm for canapes and the bar, followed by the show at 8pm.

It's a free event suitable for all ages.

RSVP to info@artsnorthernrivers.com.au



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