Rehearsals underway for Isabella play

THE date has been set and rehearsals have begun for the play about pioneer Isabella Mary Kelly.

Locals are expected to pack the Town Hall on June 21 to watch a local cast give a voice to Isabella live on stage.

Kath Palmer will play pioneer Isabella Mary Kelly

Kath Palmer will play pioneer Isabella Mary Kelly

The lead role went to Elands local Kath Palmer, a role playwright Maggie Young said Kath is perfect for.

The story behind Kath getting the role is a slightly bizarre one and involves stilt walking and the Easter Bunny. There was a chance discussion between the Chronicle's Elaine Turner, dressed as the Easter Bunny, and Kath a colourful stilt walker, at the Wingham Show.

The upcoming play appealed to Kath who was already a fan of the Manning Valley Historical Society book The Trials of Isabella Mary Kelly written by Maurie Garland. Kath approached Maggie and declared she would do anything for the play. She got the lead and both women are still reeling at the synchronistic events that led to their first meeting.

All roles have been filled and even Eric Richardson got a part - he has been cast as the bush poet. "This is a community play," said Maggie who is delighted with how well received her vision for the play has been.

Lyn Catt is helping with the costumes and comes with an impressive theatre background including Les Miserables and Cats. Some of the costumes will be made but others will be original. A friend of Maggie's recently dropped off a bag on her veranda which contained an original 1850's travelling coat. The coat is a perfect fit for Maggie and she will wear it on the night in her role as a town gossip.

The play will be part of the Manning Winter Festival and held at the Wingham Town Hall on June 21 at 6.30pm. Tickets are not yet on sale but are expected to be priced at $15 adults and $10 concession and available at the door and the museum.

Related article: Putting Isabella On Stage