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Setting the scene

03 Sep 2015

Setting the scene Image

Docklands will this month host a unique artistic event in celebration of the Yarra River.

Scenes on the Yarra is the brainchild of “sceneographer”, set and costume designer and theatre practitioner Jeminah Reidy.

This month’s event in Docklands is the sixth in a series of creative and theatrical events that have taken place at various points along the Yarra.

As Ms Reidy explained to Docklands News, a group of artists will be gathering in Docklands for a workshop over two weekends at the end of September, which will culminate in a public performance on Sunday, September 27.

Coincidentally, the performance falls on World Rivers Day, which celebrates the world’s waterways.

“The first day of the workshop is all about learning about the place we’re working in. So I engage local historians, indigenous historians, environmentalists and people that just generally have a lot of love for the place and would like to tell stories about it,” Ms Reidy said.

“The next five days of the workshop is all about the artists having their own creative response to the site.”

A diverse range of artists will create “site-specific works” relating to Docklands during the workshop and then present them to the community during the public performance.

“Site-specific means looking at the place intrinsically and making work that responds to that place, rather than bringing in objects that have been made somewhere else or dances that have been created somewhere else,” Ms Reidy said.

“Rather, these works have been generated onsite, where they will be presented. The dances will be choreographed and the songs written in the place they will be performed and that’s what makes it site-specific.”

The Docklands event is a two-hour walking performance and, in-line with previous performances, is likely to include artistic installations, dance, music and storytelling.

Ms Reidy said the community would be led from Buluk Park, behind the Library at the Dock and journey along North Wharf, stopping at various points along the way, which will be activated during the performance. These sites include the Alma Doepel restoration project at Shed 2 and the wooden boat builders shed.

“They’re so excited because we’re going to show off their beautiful art forms and we’re so excited because people don’t often have the opportunity to go there, even though they both have that open door policy,” Ms Reidy said.

Ms Reidy said she had been busy visiting Docklands, speaking with local stakeholders and building enthusiasm for the project.

“All of the stories of this place will be told on the day and we want to make sure we really do touch on everything,” she said.

The Docklands event has been funded by the City of Melbourne, Melbourne Water and Yarra River Keeper Association and follows five other “site-specific” events along the river.

Ms Reidy said the first event was held in her hometown of Warburton, which is the first large town on the Yarra River, at the beginning of 2013.

“I’ve been on my way ever since, working my way from the headwaters to the sea,” she said.

Scenes by the Yarra events have also been held in Yarra Glen, Warrandyte, Herring Island and at Birrarung Marr.

Following the Docklands event the final instalment in the series will be held at Williamstown, where the river meets the sea, in 2016.

The Docklands Scenes on the Yarra public performance will be held on Sunday, September 27 from 5pm – 7pm.

Attendees are invited to meet at the Library at the Dock in order to take part in the free event. For more information visit

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