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The Yarram & District Spring Festival Project

Festival a Huge Success

The Yarram project committee has been enjoying a well-earned rest after its very successful “Spring into Art” festival over the Melbourne Cup long weekend in November.

The festival followed hot on the heels of several other successful projects, the “Back to Back” international wool challenge and two art exhibitions organised by the Omeo-Swifts Creek project committee, and the launch of Maffra-Stratford’s “Garden for Humanity”.

The queen of Australian musical theatre, Marina Prior, was a major drawcard at Yarram, with 300 people filling the town’s Regent Theatre on the Saturday night to hear her sing.

Marina not only sang on stage: she moved among the audience, much to everyone’s delight. All in all, the vibrant Marina set the pace for a weekend of memories to last a lifetime. The five day festival was officially opened by Jill Gael in front of 80 people at the Courthouse Gallery on the Friday night.

Jill, from South Australia, has become well known throughout Gippsland as an events’ workshop facilitator. She was the ideal person to open the festival as it was one of her workshops which inspired the Yarram women to take the plunge and organise the event.

It was 13 months of hard work but project coordinator Tina Hambleton said the weekend was one that the Yarram and district people would talk about for quite some time. On the Sunday, more than 400 people headed to Port Albert for a Snapper Fest where their appetites were enticed by a range of seafoods.

A community market and art displays throughout the district added to the variety of entertainment on the day. Other activities organised for the festival included garden visits, “Art in the Park”, barbecues, a scarecrow competition and book launch.

Tina extends her appreciation to other members on the festival committee, including Jan Jess, Lyn Willmott, Julie Brandsma-Mark, Fay Reeve, Lisa Grassby, Cheryl Kane and Helen Durkin.

Previous Update

When women at Yarram set out to organise an arts festival, they go right to the top. An evening with Australia’s leading lady of musical theatre, Marina Prior, will be a high note of an inaugural five day “Spring into Art” festival to be held in Yarram and district during the Melbourne Cup weekend.

While Marina will be a major drawcard, the main aim of the festival is to attract people to Yarram to experience the artistic and creative talents of local artists.

The festival has been the brainchild of a small team of Yarram and district women taking part in the State Government funded Gippsland Women who Mean Business project.

Women in eight districts within Gippsland have been busy researching and producing a project to benefit their community. The Yarram women, led by team leader Tina Hambleton, decided a festival would benefit their town in many ways. Tina, with Cheryl Kane, Lyn Willmott, Jan Jess and Lisa Grassby, with additional help provided by Fay Reeve and Julie Brandsma-Mark, has spent months organising the many aspects of the festival.

Obtaining an evening with Marina was a major achievement and hopes are high of filling the Regent Theatre for this event, a one off experience for Yarram, on the evening of Saturday, October 29.

Marina Prior is regarded as Australia’s leading lady of musical theatre. She is best known for her lead role in The Phantom of the Opera which she played for more than three years.

She has also performed with international stars including Richard Harris and José Carreras. Tickets for Marina’s Yarram concert will need to be booked early to avoid disappointment and two options, one with dinner, the other without, are available.

The first option includes a night of gourmet Food as an Art Form presented by Roman Manser of the Tarra Valley Rainforest Retreat, at $79 a head, and the second option is entertainment only, upstairs at the Regent, for $45 a head.

The festival launch will take place the evening before, on Friday, October 28, at the new Court House Gallery Art Space. Events on Friday will include “Art in the Park”, from 10am until 2pm, with artistic demonstrations, live music and food stalls in the Yarram Memorial Park.

This will be followed by a book launch at 4pm in the Bush Nook Café. Local author Lyn Willmott will launch the book titled “Hidden Realm”. Meanwhile, over in Welshpool, a flower show will open at 2pm in the Welshpool hall.

This will continue on Saturday. Entertainment will head outdoors on Sunday with the Port Albert Snapper Festival, “An Art by the Sea” exhibition and Sunday market at the restored Port Albert Hall, the Port Albert Sunday Island Yacht Race, and a Melbourne Cup Weekend of Golf.

A Tarra Valley Art Trail has been organised for Monday,October 31, with opportunity to explore local artistic talents amid an array of fine accommodation centres and beautiful gardens.

Visitors will be able to see Tarra Valley’s heritage garden at Eileen Donan, go to the Tarra Valley Rainforest Retreat and view a woodwork exhibition. To top it off, they can enjoy a lunch comprising a sizzling Swiss barbecue and delicious desserts.

Outcomes So Far:

  • Courthouse Gallery
  • Developed network with the organising committee of the Tarra Festival
  • Working Partnership with Shire
  • Distributed 10,000 brochures across Victoria
  • Established database of Artists within the Region
  • Shire provided funds for printing of brochure
  • Website for Spring into art
  • Developed relationships with B & B's and accommodation places.
  • Worked together with Alberton project and DSE
  • Marina Prior singing at Festival
  • Establishing contacts by breaking down the barriers
  • Event management - theory put into practice
  • Individually took on responsibilities and tasks
  • Diaries
  • Working with local businesses
  • Developed brochure and lots of marketing material
  • Strong volunteer base

What's Been Happening:

Media Workshop with Deb Bye

Nine women attended he Media Workshop held by Deb Bye on Tuesday 28th September at the Yarram Country Club. The workshop was practically based and interactive with participation from all present. Deb instilled the group with confidence about how to approach radio, television and newspapers. At the end of the evening participants felt confident about how to handle the media rather than the media handling us.

Two women participated in taped interviews, which proved to be very professional and also gave the rest of the group an opportunity to learn about our fellow workers.

The evaluation at the conclusion of the meeting indicated those who attended were very satisfied with the workshop and that it met expectations.

Comments included:-

  • I gained a great deal from the workshop
  • The six honest serving men should appear in all media communication
  • Friendly, informative, interesting workshop.
  • Most informative and entertaining.
  • Fantastic - friendly, informative, knowledgeable and interesting presenters.

2 Day Skills Development Workshop with Jill Gael

The Yarram 2 Day Skills Development Workshop with Jill Gael was held in the Pelican Room at the Wellington Shire Offices in Yarram on the 13th and 14th of July 2004 starting at 9:00am and going until 4:00pm

Key information gained from the 2 day workshop:

  • “Opening the mind to better connections with others”
  • “I received so much for my own self but also watching others see things for themselves”
  • “A chance to share whatever you have to offer with other interested people”
  • “Meeting all these wonderful women was so inspiring!”
  • “Fantastic to days”

What people said about the facilitator:

  • “Interesting, enjoyable, non threatening style”
  • “Really, really approachable”
  • “An honest and living example of practicing what you preach and forgiving yourself for being human”
  • “..wealth of stories”
  • “Very effective facilitator”

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