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Parramatta’s past and present on show at Culture Up Late

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Parramatta CBD and Wentworth Point will come alive over two weeks of free performances and audio tours exploring the City’s rich history in a contemporary showcase as part of Parramatta’s Culture Up Late program.

From the brainchild of FORM Dance Projects, If These Walls Could Sing (16 February – 3 March) will create an immersive experience in the City’s newly restored Parramatta Town Hall that transports you back in time over the past 50,000 years, telling stories of the people, culture, place and Country where Parramatta stands.

Each performance begins with a traditional dance by the Jannawi Dance Clan at the Dharug Circle in Parramatta Square, before entering Town Hall’s Southern Terrace where both performers and the audience move through the building to explore each story.

The 90-minute performance explores the life and times of local colourful characters through song, dance and food, such as William Francis King. Mr King, also known as the Flying Pieman, became famous in the 1840’s for selling pies to passengers at Sydney’s Circular Quay ferry terminal before racing to Parramatta’s terminal to sell even more to those same people at the end of the route.

City of Parramatta Lord Mayor Cr Pierre Esber said the program would build on the City’s growing night-time offering.

“A vibrant City needs a vibrant night-time economy, and this special Culture Up Late program builds on the success of recent exhibitions such as Sea of Light at Town Hall and Bananaland at Riverside Theatres,” Cr Esber said.

“These events will showcase the best of our night-time economy, which has already received high praise through the internationally-recognised Purple Flag accreditation.

“I encourage everyone to make a night of it – enjoy some of our incredible restaurants and come and explore our City while having fun at Town Hall and Wentworth Point.”

FORM Dance Projects Creative Director Paul Selwyn Norton said it’s a unique showcase that’s more than just a performance.

“It’s such a huge honour for FORM Dance to be part of the celebrations of Parramatta Town Hall with the brilliant Christine Johnston adding her iconic voice and storytelling to the many voices of our community that have echoed through those halls,” Mr Selwyn Norton said.

“Audiences will literally be able to hear see and taste the diversity of rich history.”

History buffs can also explore a bite-sized piece about the City’s unique stories through the Town Hall audio tour Lost Stories. Found. Each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 5pm-7pm between 20 and 29 February, step inside Town Hall to hear stories about Parramatta’s people through supplied headsets or your own personal device.

Outside of the CBD, Wentworth Point’s Community Centre and Library forecourt will host Songs From The Sky on 1 March from 6pm. The open-air performance tells the stories of the people of Wentworth Point throughout the centuries in the outdoors. The performance is scheduled to coincide with the monthly Twilight Outdoor Markets in Wentworth Point.

This project has been produced and presented by FORM Dance Projects, with concept creation and lead artist Christine Johnston of The Kransky Sisters. At Parramatta and FORM Dance Projects have partnered to bring you If These Walls Could Sing, Songs from the Sky and Lost Stories. Found.

As part of the Culture Up Late program, Riverside Theatres has hosted an array of free events as part of Riverside Gardens Live, with five more coming up throughout February. This includes Hip Hop and Hover with Shaun Parker and Company (9 Feb), and free live music (16, 17, 23 and 24 Feb).

Riverside Theatres Director Craig McMaster said the 40 days of free live music has already been a rousing success.

“It has been so exciting seeing our Riverside courtyard become a night-time, festive hub with our Riverside Gardens Live initiative, Mr McMaster said.

“Over 100 Western Sydney connected artists have been entertaining thousands of community guests who’ve loved the world music, cabaret, drag bingo, comedy and DJs and the amazingly diverse live music programming we’ve curated since September and throughout the festival season.”

These initiatives are proudly supported by the NSW Government through the Culture Up Late Western Sydney Program.

To find out more and book your free tickets, visit atparramatta.com/whats-on

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