Backstage

Elise Hearst and Bright World

Following the first week of Arthur’s development of Bright World, we caught up with writer, Elise Hearst.

Tell us a bit about Bright World and your inspiration for the project.

Bright World is the latest project I’m developing with Arthur. A few years ago I came across this story about William Cooper, an incredible Aboriginal activist, who in 1938 after hearing reports of the Kristallnacht in Germany and Austria, felt compelled to stage a protest at the German Consulate in Melbourne. It turned out that Cooper’s protest was the only private protest recorded by an individual in Australia (and possibly internationally). My father’s parents who ended up in Australia during the war were Viennese Jews themselves, fleeing such atrocities that Cooper was protesting. It was so phenomenal to discover that someone who was so oppressed in his own land had the courage to stand up for people across the globe who were suffering and similarly dispossessed and persecuted.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve done this week?

This week we were honoured to meet William Cooper’s grandson, Alf “Uncle Boydie” Turner, who came down from Shepparton. Uncle Boydie met with us at the Jewish Holocaust Centre and spoke about his dear grandfather. He sat side by side with Holocaust survivor Abe Goldberg. Seeing the two of them together was such a privilege.

What are you excited about for next week?

Next week we will be joined by a group of actors, so will begin to bring some of our research to life on the floor.

If you could take one person on the Sound of Music tour in Salzberg, who would it be and why?

My Dad, Gary. He has a complex relationship with Austria, the birthplace of his parents. But let’s face it – he loves Mozart, and he loves a sing-a-long.

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