Siobhan Maiden presents This is where... at the Bunbury Heritage Forum

Siobhan Maiden's theatre work will present personal moments that locals have experienced in Bunbury at the places they actually occurred.
Siobhan Maiden's theatre work will present personal moments that locals have experienced in Bunbury at the places they actually occurred.

A LOCAL theatre maker is calling on residents to share their stories of significant moments they may have had at notable locations in Bunbury.

As part of the Bunbury Heritage Forum, Untold Stories event that was recently held, Siobhan Maiden is collecting stories to be performed as part of an interactive, walking tour next year.

Having relocated from Melbourne nine years ago, Ms Maiden said Bunbury had quickly worked its charm on her.

"Bunbury isn't your average little country town nor is it a big city. It's a beautiful in between with more to it than meets the eye," Ms Maiden said.

For 'This is where...', Ms Maiden said the idea was born out of eavesdropping on conversations had by walkers in Guppy Park during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic last year.

"No one could go anywhere so everyone was doing a lot of walking. I sat in the park and just listened to a few different people make comments on the former Reef Hotel which is now a construction site. Everyone had something different to say about this one location."

The City of Bunbury held the Heritage Forum at Bunbury museum on May 14 to bring together local scholars, historians and residents passionate about Bunbury's history.

Speakers included Perth History Association Executive Director Reece Harley, Bunbury Museum Customer Liaison Officer Leslie Thiele and President of the Bunbury Oral History Group Brendan Kelly.

City of Bunbury Councilor Tresslyn Smith is the Chair of the Heritage Advisory Committee and said the forum was a great idea as it enabled the people of Bunbury to understand their history.

"Winston Churchill said those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it. Bunbury is a very interesting place so it's very important for people to know its history and understand why decisions have been made in the past. I'd like to give full credit to the City and the museum for thinking up the idea," Cr Smith said.

At the forum, Ms Maiden revealed some of the stories she had already collected, shared her theatre making process and also put a call out for volunteers to be tour guides for the performance.

When the performance takes place in 2022, tour guides will lead groups of 10 to 15 people to different locations in Bunbury.

There, actors will perform a vignette of a story written by Ms Maiden that came from the community.

"I practice a verbatim theatre style. I use real life situations and dialogue and turn that into a script."

Ms Maiden is asking the community to come forward to share any stories that occurred at locations around Bunbury and said no story was too small.

"People can remain anonymous. I'm seeking private moments that happened in public places; moments that shaped someone's life in a meaningful way. It's these moments that reveal the everyday characters of Bunbury. Without these people, Bunbury is nothing."

"What's special about doing a project like this is that it's living history. I want to expose the layers of Bunbury and allow an audience to see the diversity of experiences that have happened in all of our iconic places."

If you would like to share your story, email Siobhan Maiden at thisiswherebunbury@gmail.com.