2019 Busselton Fringe Festival | Event focuses on tales from region

Actress Sarah Barclay, FAWNA president Suzanne Strapp, Ocean Edge Performance Writers' members Therese Edmonds and Donyale Mackrill will highlight the plight of the western ringtail possum at this year's Busselton Fringe Festival.
Actress Sarah Barclay, FAWNA president Suzanne Strapp, Ocean Edge Performance Writers' members Therese Edmonds and Donyale Mackrill will highlight the plight of the western ringtail possum at this year's Busselton Fringe Festival.

Four South West-based writers will unveil short plays at the Busselton Fringe Festival with each 10 minute story depicting a tale of life in the region.

The Circuit takes audiences on a journey around the ArtGeo Complex to four different locations where each play will be performed.

South West group Ocean Edge Performance Writers have created the event using plays written by local playwrights.

Ocean Edge Performance Writers member Therese Edmonds said it was the first time this event would be showcased to audiences.

"Something really lacking is Australians hearing their own stories, particularly this region, so the stories had to be about life here in the South West and they are all very personal," she said.

The first play reminisces about memories of the Busselton Jetty in 1969, with the story line focusing on whether it is a good or bad thing to go back.

"The second play is a beautiful piece about a young Aboriginal man who encounters a very old man who helps him out, called Kindness of Strangers," she said.

"The third one is a love monologue about grief and the shared grief we all experience, and how we process that.

"The fourth one is a writer's comedy about a ghastly bride - it is a bit of a surprise that one - it is a real funny one.

"They are all different, all unique and all lovely pieces." 

Ocean Edge Performance Writers member Donyale Mackrill said the event would also be used as a fundraiser for Fostering and Assistance for Wildlife Needing Aid.

One of the plays is based on a woman talking to a western ringtail possum and the group thought it would be a great opportunity to raise awareness about FAWNA.

Actress Sarah Barclay will perform the monologue about a woman who is not coping with grief, which Ms Mackrill said sees the characters connect through loss.

"As you know the possum is endangered and we need to step up and do something. So many people think they are wild and will be fine, and in the same way we assume that about each other," she said.

"I assume you are fine and I do not know what you are carrying, there is a strong connection there about not making that assumption and about our wildlife, we have to be active and do something."

FAWNA president Suzanne Strapp said they were grateful for anything that drew attention to the issue and that research was currently being undertaken in Busselton for the western ringtail possums.

"There are great projects happening at the moment so it is a great time to draw attention to that. We have just started a possum finishing school for possums going back to the wild," she said.

"There has never been a comprehensive study of what happens after possums are released, so the finishing school is to get the possums really prepared for release.

"It is a collaboration between the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, the South West Catchment Council and UWA."

Audience members attending The Circuit are asked to bring along spare change to make a donation to FAWNA and purchase a raffle ticket to win a hamper from The Berry Farm.

The Circuit will be performed during the Busselton Fringe Festival featuring eight performances from Thursday, February 28 until Sunday, March 3.

Tickets can be purchased online at busseltonfringe.com.au/product-page/the-circuit.