A roving theatrical production set to premiere at Hill End's The End Festival this weekend will give audiences an insight into the pioneering lives of women on the Central West goldfields during the nineteenth century.
The latest production from Hill End-based composer and performer Kim Deacon, A Cockle Shell for Ship explores the tales of women who lived in and around the village during the gold rush era.
The production will be brought to life through a combination of music, video footage and poetry, and will make use of historic Hill End landmarks to provide an insightful experience.
Ms Deacon said the production will take audiences on a journey through time to recognise the contribution of women to the region's history.
"These women had incredible challenges to overcome, and this production will highlight their stoicism in the face of adversity," she said.
"In 1872, one in three children didn't survive infancy and it's hard to imagine how these women were able to bear it."
READ MORE: The End Festival returns to Hill End
Drawing on the poetry of Mary Gilmore, Louisa Lawson, Judith Wright and Glen Tomasseti, the production follows the lives of Mary Maclean, Elizabeth Hawkins, Harriet Beard and the Golding sisters [Annie, Belle and Kate].
"Mary Maclean wrote a shipboard diary that remained undiscovered for nearly a century until it was found in a ruined Hill End house in 1961 by a man walking his dog," Ms Deacon said.
"I've been in contact with the family of the man who found the diary, and they'll be bringing it with them to the festival so it can be digitally recorded and donated to the State Library of NSW."
A Cockle Shell for Ship is set to be one of the showpiece events at The End Festival, and will see Ms Deacon combine her harp talents with Robyn Godfrey on cello.
"There is no place in Australia quite like Hill End, and the festival gives people the opportunity to celebrate the village's rich art and history," Ms Deacon said.
The production will commence at 1pm on both days of the festival, starting at the Presbyterian Church.
Bookings are essential and for ticketing information, visit www.moshtix.com.au.