SING ME YOUR SORROWS
Article by Cassandra Ramsay @cassramsay
An interview and invitation from SA Artist Alysha Herrmann
Sing Me Your Sorrows is a participatory installation / space exploration driven by The Paper Ensemble (from the Riverland, South Australia) who will take over a room, kit it out with homey furniture, paint the walls white and then invite the Crack Theatre Festival audience in to share their sorrows. The work will culminate in a public sharing of the space featuring music written in response to the audience’s feedback.
The mastermind behind the work is Alysha Herrmann whose list of roles includes playwright, poet, content creator, performer, dramaturg, regional and youth advocate/speaker/facilitator and live tweeter and blogger for an astounding number of events and conferences.
“I want to create opportunities for myself and others to claim our sorrows as a journey to joy” when asked about what attracts her to these emotionally charged themes. “I’m really interested in vulnerability and the space this creates for connection and growth. I’m a big believer that sorrow isn’t an opposite to joy, but is inextricably twined within joy.”
As well as Alysha, there are three other artists collaborating on the work. Jess Weidenhofer, an emerging visual artist, musician and performer; Brianna Obst, emerging performance maker, photographer / digital artist and aspiring teacher; Nic Tubb, digital artist and teacher. Alysha and Jess will work together on the music, performance and installation while Brianna and Nic will create digital responses to audience sharing.
“The actual work itself is more created by the audience with us acting as an echo/call back through our artistic responses – so we have no idea what is actually going to happen” says Alysha. Maybe something beautiful, maybe nothing at all.”
After testing out their ideas at Crack Theatre Festival, the team are looking to present across regional South Australia, and eventually presenting all the responses together in a shared exhibition in Adelaide to showcase regional South Australia, in an attempt, Alysha states, to say “Look. Look how beautiful and strong our communities are.”
Alysha has long been a supporter of regional arts and developing artists and audiences in regional communities. In 2011 she was South Australian Young Citizen of the Year and recipient of the 2011 Advantage SA Sony Centre Arts Award for the Riverland and Murraylands region.
“The biggest struggle [in being a regional arts worker] is having access to other creative people as personal and professional stimulation” says Alysha. “It can feel really lonely and exhausting because you have to create every opportunity for yourself”
“This does mean that every project, every collaboration is really heartfelt and precious – every participant, audience member, artist becomes part of the family in a really deep way.”
Alysha and her team are sure to present some touching moments with Sing Me Your Sorrow at Crack Theatre Festival during the week, and fire up some interesting conversations.
A final invitation from Alysha and her team:
As well as inviting the audience in to write or draw their stories of sorrow into the space we create, we’d also love to extend the invitation to leave behind anything else you’d like to in the space – a jumper, coffee cup, crumpled up paper, a shoe. We’d love to see the space become something shared, created together and altogether different on Saturday than it starts on Friday. And remember, you can return to the space and share (or respond to others sharing) more than once across the open period.
Also we just want to let people know that we’ll be sharing the Song of Sorrow we create for you in a really casual setting over lunch on Saturday in the Crack house, it’s not a polished, perfect thing, but rather an opportunity to share a moment in time together – vulnerable, rough and open. Hope to see you there.