ATYP Learning| The Climbing Tree Resource Pack

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→ AUDIENCE ADVICE The Climbing Tree contains: • Coarse language • Mild sexual references • Drug use • References to domestic violence and neglect Visit and check signs at the venue for updated advice.

→ CURRICULUM LINKS Suitability: Stages 5 & 6 English: Text type: Dramatic Play, Australian Literature, Indigenous Australian Stories Drama: Contemporary Australian Drama History: Indigenous Australian History, European Colonisation Stage 5 English EN5-1A, EN5-4B, EN5-6B, EN5-7D, EN5-8D Drama

5.3.1, 5.3.2, 5.3.3

History HT5-3 Stage 6
 English EA11-1, EA11-2, EA11-3, EA1-4, Prelim EA11-5, EA11-7, EA11-8 Drama

P2.1, P2.2, P2.6, P3.1, P3.4

History MH11-3, MH11-4, MH11-5, MH11-7 Stage 6
 English EA12-1, EA12-2, EA12-3, EA12-4, HSC EA12-5, EA12-7, EA12-8 Drama


History MH12-3, MH12-4, MH12-5, MH12-7 Learning across the curriculum: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures, Intercultural understanding, Personal and social capability

→ ACTIVITY: LOCAL TALES Research, Creative Writing, Drama The Climbing Tree is described as being ‘part ghost story’ as it features non-naturalistic elements reminiscent of famous tales about listless spirits who haunt the places where they have unfinished business. In this exercise, you’ll draw inspiration from your town’s history to spin a unique ghost story steeped in the legend of your home. 1.

Research a local landmark in your town. It could be something man-made, like a statue or building, or something natural like a forest or mountain range. It could even be something that would seem normal to most people but which to locals has special significance.

2. Taking inspiration from your research, write a fictional story about a local legend connected to that landmark. Consider some of the features of the Gothic genre to help you set the tone.
 3. In groups, choose one story to bring to life. Choose three key moments from the story and create a tableau for each. Try to identify moments of the greatest drama or that signal a significant moment in the unfolding story.
 4. Present your tableaux to another group and see if they can guess which moments you chose, then discuss each groups choices and what is interesting about their tableaux.


Familiar settings and situations distorted to seem unfamiliar or frightening

• Supernatural creatures (ghosts, zombies, vampires, etc.)

• Psychological horror (like unexplained noises, a

glimpse of something in the corner of your eye or the sure feeling you’re being watched…)

• An tone of mystery, suspense and dread. • Curses, omens, dark pacts and prophesies • A well-drawn, detailed setting that contrasts, compliments or amplifies the terror


• • • •

Consider the following when creating your tableaux: Proximity (distance between performers) Levels (highness and lowness)

Directionality (where you’re facing or looking) Physical mirroring or contrast

→ LOCAL REFERENCES The Climbing Tree is packed with references to the town in which it is set, Bathurst NSW. Here’s a short list of definitions to help you immerse yourself in the world of the play. ‘Annie’s’ (AKA Annie’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlour): A popular and long-running ice cream parlour located in the heart of Bathurst. Bathurst, NSW: A regional city in the Central Tablelands of NSW and the oldest inland town in Australia. Blue Mountains: A section of the Great Dividing Range that forms the border between greater Sydney and the Central NSW region. Bora: A sacred ceremonial site often marked by two circles (commonly formed from stones or moulded earth) connected by a pathway. The Bora is used in ceremonies including the initiation of young men.

The Climbing Tree: A distinctive tree in the centre of Bathurst. As it’s name suggests, it is very popular for climbing. Mount Panorama: A well-known motor racing circuit situated atop a hill with the dual official names of Mount Panorama and Wahluu. The name Wahluu translates to ‘young man’s initiation place’. St Stanislaus College (AKA Stannies): A Catholic boarding school built in the distinctive style of the Victorian era, hence the reference to ‘Hogwarts’ in the script. The Ribbon Gang: A group of escaped convicts-turned-bushrangers led by Englishman Ralph Entwistle. The gang clashed with local troopers in a series of skirmishes which became known as the Bathurst Rebellion (1830). Wiradjuri (People & Nation): The Wiradjuri are the largest First Nations group in NSW whose traditional land spans a massive area in centralwestern NSW, including Bathurst, Dubbo, Albury and Griffith. Windradyne: A famous Wiradjuri warrior and resistance leader who led his people in the frontier conflict known as The Bathurst War (1822-24), after rapid increases in the rate of European settlement put pressure on the natural resources of his peoples’ homeland.

→ ACTIVITY: WRITE A REVIEW Critical Reflection, Appreciating Drama Reviews are an important part of theatre criticism and a useful way to process your thoughts about a performance you’ve just watched. The best reviews give the reader a sense of what was impactful about a performance balanced by the reviewer’s unbiased reflection on the relative success of all the elements of the production. Make sure your review includes: • The details of the performance (where, when and by whom) • A short, spoiler-free, synopsis of the plot • A description of the overall style and tone of the piece Provide your objective analysis of: • The mood and atmosphere that was created by the performers, direction and design

elements (light, sound costume etc.) Were they effective in your opinion? • The performances given by the actors. • The appropriateness of the design elements and style of direction to the themes and genre of the play. • Your recommendation (or not) and an overall rating.

REMEMBER: When giving your personal opinion,

always try to justify it with examples from the performance and weigh it against your personal tastes.

Write your own review of The Climbing Tree and email it to We’ll publish the best ones on our website!

AUSTRALIAN THEATRE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE Suite 302 52-58 William St, Woolloomooloo NSW 2011 e: | Ph: 02 9270 2400 | Facebook: Join the group ATYP For Teachers Visit and for more resources and to watch our past productions

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