Manning Winter Festival: Play a sell-out

Playwright Maggie Young pictured at the Wingham Town Hall box office.
Playwright Maggie Young pictured at the Wingham Town Hall box office.

A LOCAL voice will be given to the story of iconic local pioneer, Isabella Mary Kelly.

A play, written by playwright Maggie Young and inspired by the book by local author Maurie Garland, The Trials of Isabella Mary Kelly, will debut to a sell-out audience at the Wingham Town Hall on June 21.

Maggie said she has been delighted that her vision for Isabella - The Play has been so well received.

The title role went to Elands local Kath Palmer, already a fan of the book, who had contacted Maggie declaring she would do anything for the play.

Maggie hopes her work will give a voice to Isabella whose story has often been inaccurately told.

Maurie was able to shed light on the true story of Isabella in his book and now Maggie hopes to bring the community together to celebrate this remarkable woman.

When Maggie was first reading about Isabella and her settlement locally in the late 1830s she was curious to know why Isabella had chosen such a remote location.

But having moved here herself from Newcastle only recently, she was able to relate.

"It is just so beautiful here," she said and unlike Isabella, who received harsh treatment from many locals and had few friends, Maggie's experience has been completely different.

"I love it here," she said. "It certainly is a friendly town."

Maggie has experience working on similar projects across the country including Newcastle and Tasmania.

The play will be lively and include audience involvement - acting may not be confined to the stage alone and Isabella could suddenly appear right next to members of the audience.

"It will be fun," said Maggie.

All money raised from the production will be donated to the Wingham Museum.

Community members have filled the roles, and even Eric Richardson got a part - he has been cast as the bush poet.

As well as being a cast member, 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 1850s 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 has already sold out.

Lyn Catt helps Kath Palmer (Isabella) with her costume.

Lyn Catt helps Kath Palmer (Isabella) with her costume.