Play tracks jour­ney of iconic train

Pilbara News - - News - Ali­cia Per­era

A re­gional tour of a chil­dren’s play cel­e­brat­ing the his­tory of an iconic Pil­bara train and its links to lo­cal in­dige­nous cul­ture has be­gun this week.

In­ter­ac­tive pup­pet play All Aboard The Spinifex Ex­press, which was de­vel­oped by IBN Abo­rig­i­nal Cor­po­ra­tion, Re­gional De­vel­op­ment Aus­tralia Pil­bara and the WA Coun­cil of So­cial Ser­vice, and de­buted at the Kar­i­jini Ex­pe­ri­ence ear­lier this year, launched at Soul Cafe in Kar­ratha on Fri­day on its way to trav­el­ling to 11 dif­fer­ent Pil­bara towns and com­mu­ni­ties.

It will show in Roe­bourne, Kar­ratha, Onslow, Dampier, Tom Price, Parabur­doo, New­man, Nul­lagine, Mar­ble Bar, War­ra­long and South Hed­land over the next five weeks.

Di­rec­tor Cate Fowler said the play, aimed at chil­dren six and un­der, was based on a Ny­mal “japi song” (folk song) about iconic Pil­bara train the Spinifex Ex­press, which trans­ported mail, wa­ter and other ev­ery­day ne­ces­si­ties from Mar­ble Bar to Port Hed­land from 1911 to the early 1950s.

Cast mem­bers Nora Cooke and Ninian Don­ald said with orig­i­nal songs, cus­tom-made pup­pets and three Pil­bara in­dige­nous lan­guages all part of the play, it was en­ter­tain­ing for chil­dren and adults alike. Don­ald said fram­ing the show around the train’s jour­ney from sta­tion to sta­tion struck a chord with chil­dren.

“Chil­dren un­der­stand jour­neys,” he said. “So they might not quite get the whole idea of the train… but they un­der­stand the jour­ney and they un­der­stand go­ing from one place to an­other and you see things along the way. That’s what they can grab hold of.”

Speak­ing at the launch, IBN chief ex­ec­u­tive Tony McRae said one of the most ex­cit­ing as­pects of the tour show was its in­clu­sion of a se­ries of ex­tra work­shops on child well­be­ing and ed­u­ca­tion on in­dige­nous cul­ture.

“This (show’s) go­ing to be like this car­a­van me­an­der­ing around the Pil­bara, drop­ping into com­mu­ni­ties that haven’t seen this kind of thing, if ever, for many many years,” he said.

“We’re adding yoga in lan­guage, health out­reach work, and links to (ed­u­ca­tional spe­cial­ists) and health work­ers and the arts com­mu­ni­ties in ways that we’ve never seen done, in my ex­pe­ri­ence in the Pil­bara, in this way be­fore.”

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Pic­ture: Ali­cia Per­era

All Aboard The Spinifex Ex­press di­rec­tor Cate Fowler and cast mem­bers James Tay­lor, Nora Cooke, Ninian Don­ald and Noni Dun­stone.

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