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Actors Myles Pollard and Tom O’Sullivan in rehearsals.

Naval disaster production hits Midland theatre screen

By Melissa Sheil

A UNIQUE production documenting a historical tragedy will grace  the screens of Midland Ace Cinemas from this weekend.

Theatre 180 will be performing their live theatre show Sydney II: Lost and Found on a temporary stage in front of the cinema screen from October 29 to November 3.

Writer Jenny Davis said the plot of the show focused on the disappearance and rediscovery of the HMS Sydney II, a ship sinking considered one of the worst naval disasters in Australian history.

“[This was] one of the most challenging plays I’ve written, but also one of the most rewarding,” she said.

“Our aim was to commemorate and celebrate both the service of the 645 men who were lost on board and their memory, and also the tireless work of the Finding Sydney Foundation, a small group of West Australians, who after 67 years of mystery as to its whereabouts, managed to locate and film the Sydney wreck.

“A great deal of research was required, but the challenging aspects of the work for me has been how to weave together the threads of loss, discovery and the true love story of one of the sailors on board.”

Director Stuart Halusz said staging live theatre in cinemas presents some unique challenges.

“Whilst the scale of the screen dominates the space, our three performers need to grab the attention of the audience and hold it throughout the play,” he said.

“Never leaving the stage, transitioning from one character to another in full view and often only having a change of costume to suggest a character change, it all hinges on the performance skills of the actor.

“Our screen serves as not only a canvas on which to project images which give us a sense of place and setting for the scenes, but more importantly an emotional backdrop to the journey of the characters.

“It culminates in a beautiful ode to the fallen.”

Tickets can be purchased at  www.theatre180.com.au

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