Unfortunately my website has been down for a while so I’m a bit late telling you about the two wonderful things I did last weekend. First up was a ‘theatre in the wild’ experience walking around the Quarantine Station in Manly with a group re-enacting their ‘Convict Footprints Quarantined’ show on Saturday. Very entertaining and very ingenious as they took our group from the earliest days of quarantine and the convict presence through several major epidemics including the smallpox outbreak in 1881 (the basis of my novel Ghost Boy) as well as the plague and Spanish flu. They dressed up as various personae while we walked the site, learning also about the early class system and early treatment of disease while also exploring various buildings including the haunted shower block, the hospital wards, and the very basic (4th class) ‘Asian Quarters’ through to the first class precinct – where a wedding was taking place!
I then spent Sunday all frocked up at the St Ives Medieval Faire where I was invited to spend time in the Kuringai Library Tent – a wonderful haven on a hot day where children had a range of activities to choose from while giving their parents a break. The Grand Parade was wonderful: so many re-enactment and special interest groups from around Australia, all dressed up in costumes from Saxon and Viking times through to the late middle ages. I particularly enjoyed watching the international jousting competition (check the beautiful knight in his shining armour!) but unfortunately missed the Birds of Prey show (check that BIG black eagle!) There was certainly something for everyone there, with everything from Viking wrestling to a medieval dance workshop and from archery to enamelling and musical instruments. And Irish wolfhounds (you gotta love them!)