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The Other Side at Victoria Park Centre for the Arts

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Fusion of arts delivers unique perspective
The Other Side, Victoria Park Centre for the Arts, theatre, photography, music, homelessness, performing arts, social issues
Sarah Christiner plays Kate in her late teens through to her late 20s in The Other Side.


Photography, music and theatre come together this July to highlight stories rarely seen, shedding light on a destructive and demoralising way of life. Presented by Life on Hold Productions at the Victoria Park Centre for the Arts, The Other Side takes audiences through a photographic exhibition, matched with carefully selected music, before culminating in a play about Kate.

Kate is a troubled woman who has suffered a great tragedy and is portrayed during different stages of her life by three actors. Directed by Siobhán O'Gara, the play shows how Kate arrived at her tragedy, her experience of living it and how the event affected her years later.

The Other Side, Victoria Park Centre for the Arts, theatre, photography, music, homelessness, performing arts, social issues
The Other Side focuses on the troubled Kate, played by three actors during different stages of her life: Sarah Christiner, left, Meredith Hunter and Jane Sherwood.


"It describes the life and trials of one homeless woman, who represents a whole class in our society that is often ignored, forgotten or overlooked," Siobhán said. "Her life is not beautiful but it's everywhere around us – but do we see it?

The play gives voice to the hopelessness, despair and loneliness. With three talented actors playing the different stages of the same character, the challenge is to establish and maintain the credibility of that character through all points of her life.

It's also important to avoid sensationalising the issue of homelessness and to present the story in a way that elicits sympathy and understanding for the character – and of the condition.
"

The Other Side, Victoria Park Centre for the Arts, theatre, photography, music, homelessness, performing arts, social issues
Siobhán O'Gara, back left, with the three actors playing Kate: Meredith Hunter, Sarah Christiner and Jane Sherwood.


Siobhán has a wealth of theatrical experience behind her, founding the Brisbane Irish Theatre Players in 1990, working with the Canberra Irish Community Theatre in the mid-90s and the Old Mill Theatre from 1998 as a director, stage manager and lighting and sound operator. Since moving west, she has also co-directed After Dinner and Beyond Therapy at Playlovers, stage-managed Cat On A Hot Tin Roof and A Laughing Matter at the Dolphin Theatre and directed The Mozart Faction at Melville Theatre.

In 2007 and 2012, Siobhán received best director nominations for Necessary Targets and Parramatta Girls at the annual Finley Awards. "I love plays and scripts that speak to the human condition and are steeped in social reality," she said. "Homelessness is a growing issue in our society and does not discriminate between professionals, the educated or dispossessed and is a leveller in an uncaring world."

The Other Side, Victoria Park Centre for the Arts, theatre, photography, music, homelessness, performing arts, social issues
In The Other Side, Meredith Hunter plays Kate in her 30s to 40s, struggling with parenthood and maintaining a marriage while also battling her inner demons.


Sarah Christiner, the driving force behind Life on Hold Productions, plays one of the Kates. "Most of us have come across Kates – whether in health, education, law or hospitality –so it's important to understand she is in no way make-believe," she said. "Her characterisation has been inspired by women the cast have encountered in their professional and personal lives.

But while we may see the façade of these Kates, we rarely get a glimpse of the world from her side of the fence. Our aim for this event is to present this other side of life with sensitivity and care and to make an enlightening impact.
"

The Other Side, Victoria Park Centre for the Arts, theatre, photography, music, homelessness, performing arts, social issues
Kate in her 50s and 60s is played by Jane Sherwood, a product of events that occurred to the previous two versions.


Involved in theatre since 2003, Sarah has performed in a plethora of productions and has also done extensive tech work and stage-managing, recently extending her love of the performing arts to directing and setting up Life on Hold Productions. In 2018, her company debuted with a production of A Clockwork Orange, followed by Animal Farm earlier this year.

"The Other Side was inspired by The House of Eternal Return by Meow Wolf in Santa Fe," Sarah said. "It's a performance and art space secreted away in a house that's a maze, full of mystery and magic, showcasing visual and performing artists.

The Other Side, Victoria Park Centre for the Arts, theatre, photography, music, homelessness, performing arts, social issues
Sarah Christiner's company Life on Hold Productions has helped bring The Other Side to life.

"We're aiming for something similar by bringing various aspects of the arts together to tell stories in a way that most of us will never otherwise see them. All aspects of this event, whether it's music, performance or photography, share a thematic motif, to expose audiences to a perspective of life they wouldn't experience unless they lived it themselves."

The Other Side plays at 7.30pm July 13, 19 and 26 and 6pm and 8pm July 20 and 27. Tickets are $25, $20 concession – book at www.trybooking.com/BCRNK. Photos on display will be available for sale. The Victoria Park Centre for the Arts is 12 Kent Street, East Victoria Park.

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Why? The arts have the power to bring important issues to the forefront of public imagination – The Other Side has grasped a complex, ongoing headline to create a bold, innovative and urgent work.
When: 7.30pm July 13, 19 & 26; 6pm & 8pm July 20 & 27
Where: Victoria Park Centre for the Arts, 12 Kent Street, East Victoria Park
Cost: $25, $20 concession
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