Fremantle: the history of the Arts Centre revealed in WAAPA production

Jono Battista, Nona Shepphard (director) and David Vikman. Nona Shepphard wrote and directed The House On The Hill, which is inspired by the intriguing history of Fremantle Arts Centre.
Jono Battista, Nona Shepphard (director) and David Vikman. Nona Shepphard wrote and directed The House On The Hill, which is inspired by the intriguing history of Fremantle Arts Centre.

FROM a destructive and confining building to place full of ideas and creation, WAAPA students will look back at the history of the Fremantle Arts Centre in a new production.

House on the Hill was written and directed by Associate Director of London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) Nona Shepphard, who said the story will represent the four different eras of the building.

“It was built by convicts as an asylum first then it changed use to a women’s home in the late 19th century,” she said.

“During World War II it housed American soldiers, after many years it was in such a ruin that there were talks of it being demolished.

“It was saved and restored and now it’s an arts centre.”

The audience will explore the building whilst witnessing stories from each era.

Ms Shepphard said there were many challenges including getting to know the students and the space.

“Initially the challenge was getting to know the group as quickly as I could,” she said.

“When I imagined the space in London it was the same place but the atmosphere was entirely different then it actually was in person.”

“I want the audience to feel the process from a horrid start, built by convicts to be an asylum.

“We also want to show how art, theatre and performances changes lives, we want people to feel.”

The first time visitor to Perth said she was very impressed with the WAAPA students.

“The students were keen to turn their hand at anything, they didn’t have any barriers up which was nice to see but also seeing them challenged in acting,” she said.

“It is really important for theatre to survive-you need to have a new generation making their own stuff, their work is vital.”

 

THE ESSENTIAL:

WHAT: House on the Hill

WHEN: Wednesday October 10 to Saturday October 13 from 7.30pm

WHERE: Fremantle Arts Centre

TICKETS: (08) 9432 9555 or online at: fac.org.au