FedUni students to bring historic spaces to life during Ballarat Heritage Weekend

HISTORIC spaces will tell stories of old when FedUni Arts Academy students take them over during Ballarat Heritage Weekend.

About 180 students have prepared works to perform in heritage spaces throughout the city.

From operetta in Her Majesty’s Theatre to mysterious stories and bushranger tales at the Ballaarat Mechanic’s Institute, historic board games and music-hall singalongs the students have been polishing their performance skills since March.

JAZZY: FedUni Arts Academy students Darcy Cargeeg, Sarah Culy, Andrew Dang (top), Blake Fiegert, Eyoal Terfwork and Nicola Ingram show off their skills ahead of next week's Ballarat Heritage Weekend. Picture: Kate Healy

JAZZY: FedUni Arts Academy students Darcy Cargeeg, Sarah Culy, Andrew Dang (top), Blake Fiegert, Eyoal Terfwork and Nicola Ingram show off their skills ahead of next week's Ballarat Heritage Weekend. Picture: Kate Healy

“The students are very keen to be part of Heritage Weekend,” said FedUni Arts Academy director Bryce Ives.

“They see this landscape and want to reinterpret and imagine the possibilities and tell new stories based on Ballarat’s past.”

An original operetta, The Spirit Level, will make its Australian premiere at Her Majesty’s Theatre. Second-year music theatre students will perform the story of Agatha Banks, a Victorian woman whose husband committed her to a mental asylum after discovering she had been taking part in spiritualist meetings.

“This production at Her Majesty’s Theatre as part of Ballarat Heritage Weekend, gives students the unique opportunity to work with the composer to develop their craft on a contemporary opera, relevant to times and to the young people involved,” said director Anthony Crowley.

Mr Ives said The Spirit Level would be performed at Her Majesty’s as it was built, without modern sound and lighting systems. “This is an old-fashioned performance,” he said.

About 15,000 people are expected to take part in Ballarat Heritage Weekend activities.

“Heritage weekend is a time to celebrate what we have got, who we are and our personality as a heritage city,” said City of Ballarat mayor Samantha McIntosh.

She said FedUni student performances would help activate the city in a way it once was.

“Ballarat back in the gold rush was full of performing arts and theatre. Many people flocked to the Town Hall, Mechanics Institute, Mining Exchange and post office to be entertained by the performers of the day, and that’s what you’ll see on Heritage Weekend,” she said.

Ballarat Heritage Weekend is on May 27 and 28.