Of mice and Burns: artists to tell a tale

ARTWORKS as humble as a textile mouse will be welcome for a novel arts project that is part of Camperdown’s forthcoming Robert Burns Festival.

This year’s festival has an artist in residence, Renae Shadler, who will present a series of art events called “We Art Corangamite” to celebrate the south-west’s rich Scottish heritage and the life and times of Robert Burns. 

The project will be presented as a tour during the festival with the audience visiting different sites around Manifold Street in Camperdown on Saturday, June 28. 

Artists are invited to use any medium to explore the life of Robert Burns, including film, audio work, small theatre performance, music performance, dance or visual artwork. 

She said the project would focus on engaging the audience with new experiences. 

Ms Shadler said one idea was to help audience members make their own textile mouse while listening to a recital of the Burns poem To a Mouse. 

Ms Shadler wants to enlist helpers, performers and visual artists to help bring her project to life. 

“I’m looking for people to create an artwork that exists in a certain place,” she said. 

“The location can be taken into account when creating the artwork and possible sites might include the clocktower, Lions caravan or the civic centre gardens. 

“The more creative and unknown, the better. I’m looking for all types of ideas that are casual and fun so give it a go.” 

Ms Shadler will be based in Camperdown in the four weeks leading up to the Robert Burns Scottish Festival, on June 27-29. 

Corangamite mayor Ruth Gstrein said the project was a great opportunity for community members to work with a professional practising artist. 

The festival will again feature a wealth of performances by international and national musicians, including a ceilidh, a Scottish country dance, and The Gillies Gathering, a night of dancing, music and story-telling on the Saturday night.

A huge finale, the Robbie Burns concert, to be held on the following afternoon, is set to carry audiences away with the sound of pipes, drums and fiddles. 

Afternoon concerts will also be held on the Saturday and a Deer Stalkers Ball, featuring a whisky toast, will take place on Friday, June 27.

Satellite concerts will be held at Skipton and Port Campbell in the days before the festival.

New events for this year’s festival include highland games for children, and highland dancing under the Manifold Street clocktower.

Also new on the program are the Burns Lectures by Robert Burns World Federation president Jane Brown, from Scotland, and other Burns enthusiasts Gordon Ashley and Western Bate.

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