It was a dark and cloudy night for the sold-out premiere of Tantrum Youth Arts ‘Diving off the Edge of the World’ at Newcastle Ocean Baths.
This production revolves around the fabled ‘Map of the World’ pool. For those unfamiliar with this urban myth, it’s rumoured that in the sand underneath the kids wading pool near Newcastle Ocean Baths, is a concrete map of the world. This pool is also referred to as the Canoe Pool and the Young Mariners’ Pool. We know for certain that the pool was opened in 1937 to much fanfare but as to its whereabouts now, well that’s the mystery!
This theatrical show featuring a cast of talented young people interprets the mystery and recollections of the ‘Map of the World’ pool. This innovative extravaganza includes comedy, drama, vintage clowning, dance, choral work and even synchronized swimming in the cold waters of the Ocean Baths to entertain audience members.
The entertainment begins at the start of the show when audience members assemble above where the Map Pool is rumoured to be buried. It’s then that you realize that this is no ordinary dramatic production. This is an experience where both cast members and the audience are involved in the show with lots of interaction between them. It makes for a rollicking good time.
Each audience member is issued with a passport and welcomed aboard an imaginary luxury cruise to experience life at sea as well as various land excursions. The audience are divided up into three groups each with their own entertaining steward. Each group is then led to different locations around Newcastle Ocean Baths for specific scenes. The small group and closeness to cast members creates an intimate environment, one that you wouldn’t experience viewing this production in a conventional theatre setting. Although it was overcast with a light drizzle, this just contributes to the atmospheric environment of the show.
Each performance features a different theme and cast.
Postcardia is an entertaining illustration of different overseas destinations while Ghostlandia is a poignant and emotional scene focusing on family, loss and memories.
The documentary Memoria recounts the history of the pool and includes memories from older members of the community reminiscing about the ‘Map of the World’. It also definitively answers the question of whether the pool is still buried deep beneath the sand! (Unfortunately the documentary reveals that the pool was removed by Newcastle City Council decades ago due to public health issues relating to the murky pool water).
‘Diving off the Edge of the World’ is an excellent and innovative production filled with talented young actors and supported by an ensemble crew and professional mentors. I was impressed by the scope and vision of this production and look forward to further Tantrum productions. ‘Diving off the Edge of the World’ is a fitting tribute to Newcastle’s glorious past performed by local youth, Newcastle’s future.
‘Diving off the Edge of the World’ by Tantrum Youth Arts runs February 14, 15, 21 and 22. Tickets $35 adult, $25 concession, $100 family. Kids under 5 get in free. For more information http://www.tantrum.org.au. Tantrum Youth Arts offer weekly workshops for young people in drama, script-writing, improvisation, theatre-making and more. Classes are available in Newcastle & Charlestown.
‘The Mystery of the Canoe Pool’ exhibition will run at Local Studies Lounge at Newcastle Region Library at Laman Street until 26 April 2014.
‘Diving off the Edge of the World’ short film is projected nightly on the corner of Watt and King Street thanks to City of Newcastle’s City Evolutions.