THE BRIGHT LIGHT OF CATHERINE
8 November 2016
The 141st anniversary of the arrival of the Sisters of Mercy in Singleton was recently celebrated by bringing the story of Catherine McAuley to life for over 500 students and 25 Sisters of Mercy who attended a performance of the play “A Bright Light in the Darkness” held in the magnificent surrounds of the Chapel at Sacred Spaces Singleton.
To celebrate in such a unique way, bringing together the school community and local sisters, was the result of the desire of Cynthia Mullholland, Events and Marketing Coordinator, to do something really different in this Jubilee Year of Mercy to celebrate this important occasion. Having heard about the production “A Bright Light in the Darkness” from the Mercy Ethos Office, Cynthia got in touch with the Blue Whale Theatre Company and the rest as they say is history, or in this case history brought to life!
To perform in such beautiful and meaningful surrounds was another step in what has been a busy chapter in the story of the Blue Whale Theatre Company. Responding to an advertisement to write a play about the life of Catherine McAuley for a celebration at St Charles School in Ryde, NSW, Therase Neve, theatre in education specialist and Owner/Artistic Director of the Blue Whale Theatre Company set about composing a play that would capture the key events in the life of Catherine McAuley in a way that was both educational and engaging for students. The show that she developed, “A Bright Light in the Darkness” chronicles the Life of Catherine McAuley, reflecting on her life in three parts – her childhood, the pivotal experiences of her young adult life and the legacy she founded in establishing the Sisters of Mercy. After that initial performance in Ryde little did Therase know where this story would take her.
The show which delighted the crowd in Singleton, has been embraced by Mercy schools across the country and is set to be performed over seventy times before the end of the year across three states in locations such as Sydney, Brisbane, Junee (NSW), Wagga Wagga (NSW), Geelong (VIC), Ballarat (VIC), Melbourne, Mildura (NSW) and Griffith (NSW). There has also been interest from Perth for a tour in March 2017. The large amount of research put into developing the play is best evidenced in the three “Hot Seat” sessions which occur throughout the performance – allowing students to ask questions of Catherine McAuley in character.
Cynthia Mullholland of Sacred Spaces said “The quality of the acting along with the accuracy of the story, made for a truly magnificent experience. The interactive components of the play were a win with the students of St Catherine’s Singleton. Being able to see a performance like this really helps the students understand their Mercy origins as well as to recognise the human aspects of the story such as compassion, empathy and kindness.”
Inspired by the story of Catherine McAuley, at the conclusion of the performance students were invited by Leanne O’Brien, the Religious Education Coordinator at St Catherine’s, to bring the story to life by reaching out to those in need in their families, school and local communities. It is this invitation for students to live Mercy in their everyday lives that will continue their experience of the Catherine McAuley story long after the final curtain has fallen on this amazing production.
To find out more about “A Bright Light in the Darkness” you can contact: Mercy Ethos Office