SPEND the weekend exploring Ballarat’s unique heritage and delve into our remarkable military history at this year’s Ballarat Heritage Weekend, held over the Mother’s Day weekend – 9 to 10 May, 10am to 5pm.
With a theme of A Century of Service, this year’s Heritage Weekend program features a fascinating list of free exhibitions, activities, entertainment and new tours most within a walking distance to the Ballarat CBD.
Federation University Graduating Actors Company students will feature throughout Heritage Weekend with a series of activities including: Oh What a Lovely War – A bold imagining of Joan Littlewood’s popular musical piece with nightly performances at the Helen Macpherson Smith Theatre; Pop Up concert featuring the songs from both World Wars at the Art Gallery of Ballarat; Remember and March – an invitation to community members to bring a personal object and re-trace the steps of the first ANZAC Day march along Sturt Street to the Town Hall; Public Discussion – share your objects and memories and discuss ways we can remain connected to the First World War. Last Thursday the Federation University performing arts students gave a glimpse of what we can expect from them during the Heritage Weekend. The students have been preparing to perform a series of war-themed shows. Bryce Ives, project director, said the students would activating Ballarat with stories and memories of the Great War 100 years ago. “They will be singing songs from the Great War, telling stories, reading letters, connecting Ballarat now to Ballarat 100 years ago, retracing the steps of the original ANZAC Day Parade,” he said. Sturt will be closed on the Sunday morning during Heritage Weekend and members will be invited to retrace the steps of the original ANZAC day march. “The original march started at the Bridge Mall and ended at the steps of the Town hall so our students will be joining the Ballarat community, singing songs and retracing those steps,” Mr Ives said. “Our students are the same age as the original ANZACS so it’s quite a powerful project.” Sixty students from the Arts Academy, the first and the third year, will be taking part.
“They are training actors and they are training to be at an industry level but here we are inviting them to connect with the local community – to meet with the senior citizens and the RSL and the Legacy ladies. “This is their major project for the first part of the year but it’s more than a project, they are working around the clock because they fell passionate about it and also excited by the community connections.” Some of the songs that the group will be performing are: It’s a Long Long way to Tipperary, Are we Downhearted?, Row Row Row.
“Yesterday we sang with the RSL members, so we had a ninety-nine year old singing alongside a twenty-one year old, songs that he said he hadn’t heard since his mother died,” Mr Ives said. The musical, Oh, What a Lovely War, will be performed nightly at the Helen Macpherson Smith Theatre and students will also perform in a pop-up concert at the Art Gallery of Ballarat. Key highlights of the 2015 event program include: Pacific Belles and John Schumann perform live; Check out the huge display of military vehicles and chat to their owners; Take a ride on a steam train and double decker bus; Experience the flair of a Charlotte Smith war themed fashion parade; Explore a vintage collection of aprons at the Ballarat Apron Festival; Find your best tweed jacket and join the FedUni Tweed Ride; Hear from ABCTV’s Who’s Been Sleeping In My House archaeologist and writer Adam Ford and Ancestry. com; Uncover something unique at the Antiques, Collectables and Vintage Bazaar and visit the Little Sparrow Market; Get your military treasures valued; the private grounds of Ballarat’s impressive Bishop’s Palace; trail activities for children.