Fringe Festival: East Perth Cemeteries open for a moment of Rest

WAYTCo and the National Trust of WA are bringing Rest to Fringe Festival. Pictured (L-R) Gabriel Critti-Schnaars, Adam Snyman, Lauren Thomas, Sebastian Critti-Schnaars Picture: Will Russell www.communitypix.com.au d490106
WAYTCo and the National Trust of WA are bringing Rest to Fringe Festival. Pictured (L-R) Gabriel Critti-Schnaars, Adam Snyman, Lauren Thomas, Sebastian Critti-Schnaars Picture: Will Russell www.communitypix.com.au d490106

WOULD you wander the tombstones of the long-closed East Perth Cemeteries after dark?

Hundreds of punters have jumped on the chance to learn the secrets of the 1800s historic site, with tickets to Fringe Festival show Rest snapped up well before the immersive theatre experience opens the gates.

The site was closed as a cemetery in 1899, and it is estimated 10,000 people are buried in its grounds.

Assistant directors Mitch Whelan and Hannah Davidson said audiences can expect a unique experience, exploring one on one performances and ensemble.

“It’s the stories of people who are buried here, the story of the site itself, and how we reflect on that almost two centuries on,” Whelan said.

“We’ve been really careful to be quite respectful of the site, and we have quite a few protocols around how we treat the graves, headstones and stories.”

The WAYTCo and National Trust of WA production is directed by James Berlyn with compositions by Rachael Dease and lighting by Lucy Birkinshaw, and offers the chance to “stop briefly in a place of eternal rest”.

The East Perth Cemeteries are usually open for a two hour window every Sunday afternoon, but Rest will take visitors on journeys around the site at 9pm and 10.30pm.

Davidson said despite the eerie atmosphere, there would be no jump scares.

“There’s not someone in a white sheet creeping behind a tombstone, none of that,” she said.

“You don’t have to do anything particularly theatrical, the space speaks for itself – everyone is aware of what a graveyard is.”

Whelan said the group was looking at adding extra shows to cater to demand.

“It’s bringing the public and awareness to this place,” he said.

“It’s a really special piece of promenade theatre.”

Find out more at fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/rest-fw2019.