First languages focus of story

Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser

The youth of the Great Southern have the opportunity to participate in the interactive journey that is Saltbush, which brings an exploration of indigenous language to Albany Entertainment Centre later this month.

The contemporary show uses sensory technology to engage with people and teach them what some do not know: people have lived here for more than 50,000 years and this is part of our Australian narrative.

Saltbush co-artistic director Jason Cross said it was a unique experience for any young Australian, and it taught children about their nation’s history.

“It says to the participating young person, here is this history, and try play and watch the magic unfold,” he said.

“You go from a reflective place to it being almost like a dance party, as it ends with all the children dancing on the floor in what could be regarded as a corroboree.”

The story itself takes on the idea and asks youth that suppose it were 200 years ago, and they had to walk from say Albany to Perth, how many languages and individual countries would they have to cross.

“There is not one Aboriginal culture, it is very diverse and people had different languages and backgrounds to people 200km away,” Cross said.

“That whole idea of exploring the fact that prior to the invasion, there was over 300 different little countries within Australia.”

As for the name of the show, Cross said it came from the lesson that within all the different languages and individual groups, there was something all people could understand.

“Saltbush grows everywhere — it grows in arid climates, it grows near the beach, it’s comfortable growing in temperate climates,” he said.

“It sort of represents this idea that no matter what the diversity is, you still get things that are consistent.”

The theatre show has travelled internationally in the past three years to more than 30 countries, and now has its chance to travel regionally at more than 25 different venues across the nation.

The experience is recommended for four to 12-year-olds and will be on Tuesday, July18, from 10.30am to 6pm.

Tickets are available through the box office or at ticketek.com.

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