THEATRE director Ollie Heathwood was motivated to create her latest community theatre project by the effects that CSG mining operations were having on local communities.
"The particular issue for me was that someone can come in and disrupt my land, my life, my livelihood and my community just for profit and it seemed like I couldn't do anything about it," Ollie told The Echo during a rehearsal on Tuesday night.
But she could do something about it and she did; she produced CSG - The Musical.
Ollie is a community theatre person through and through. She has directed many community shows in the local area over the years. Struggle of the Naga Tribe, Paradiso Fantasma and Rainbow Song are just some of her productions.
CSG - The Musical involves local
community groups (Winsome Gospel Choir, Ra Ra Youth Theatre, React Circus, and the Lismore Ukelele Club) and has about 90 people involved. Half of those come from rural areas around Lismore like Nimbin, The Channon, Rock Valley and Alstonville.
"Most people have never acted before, but they're amazing. I've actually made a deliberate effort to put non-actors in acting roles," Ollie smiled mischievously.
The first half of the show is a revue - "like The Wharf Revue," she said.
"The first half is designed to share information about CSG," Ollie said. "I have taken the text that comes from CSG mining companies and put it in a context that shows it clearly for what it is - spin. I call what I'm doing, reverse spin."
The second half explores how CSG mining divides communities. Ollie uses traditional drama to tell the fictional story of Stan and Thelma who sell their land to CSG miners. This causes problems with their anti-CSG neighbours and the community but then… "Well, it's a surprise ending," Ollie said. "You'll just have to see it.
"With CSG - The Musical I aim to give people information they may not know about CSG mining," Ollie said, slightly distracted with one ear listening to the cast rehearsing one of the show's songs. "The repeat line should be softer!" she called to musical director Jude Magee.
"I want to move people so they take action," Ollie said, her attention returned. "I want people to come to this show not just because it's for a good cause (we're trying to battle mining companies who have millions to spend) but it's a great show - really funny and moving."
CSG - The Musical is on at the Lismore Workers Club on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, June 28, 29 and 30, at 7.30pm.
Tickets are $20 from Caddies Bean Shop in Lismore, Tom's Music Shop in Kyogle, Perceptio's in Nimbin and Barebones Art Space in Bangalow.
All monies raised go to CSG Free Lismore.