Free Performances New Arts Space

Rebecca Varidel
30th Sep 2020

A classic play opens in a new venue with free performances this November 9-14. The Silver Tunnel brings a veteran actor and a new star together in a darkly comic thriller by a larrikin writer. And all in a repurposed church with its legendary minister and his homeless flock!

Sydney’s oldest graveyard: seven tombstones... all suicides from the time of the First Fleet. Old Harry is their ‘keeper’. He’s tendered their graves for 34 years. He talks to them. They talk back. Now, he’s digging an eighth grave… who is it for? Jason the suicidal apprentice gravedigger arrives - because the voices have called him in. Harry can’t hear them anymore. Why not? And who will end up in the eighth grave?

The Silver Tunnel is a wild ride to heaven and hell and back, set in a graveyard and performed in a church! Penned by veteran stage and screen actor, writer and filmmaker Warwick Moss, this darkly comic thriller is a play about suicide that celebrates life.

It also marks the debut of a new inner west performance space: the Ashfield Uniting Church, home to the homeless and HQ of the Australian Living Treasure, the Reverend Bill Crews.

Bill Crews has been fighting for the poor, homeless and needy for almost 50 years. Starting off with the street kids, Kings Cross in the 1970s, he worked tirelessly with the Wayside Chapel until he moved to Ashfield in the ‘80s and opened his now famous Loaves and Fishes free restaurant in the grounds of the church. To this day thousands of free meals are served every week to those in need, while also providing free dental, medical and social services. The only thing that has changed since the arrival of the Coronavirus is meticulous COVID checks and social distancing.

The numbers have actually increased as the recession bites. Church services are now mostly held outside, the pews have been removed and the church itself is now an Arts and Performance Space. With the actors moving around the audience, the Silver Tunnel launches this exciting new era.

“What a year it’s been eh? No Theatre. No Church,” says Rev Bill. “But now we’re underway again with a magical combination of both. Like all our endeavours this production is aimed at raising awareness and therefore funds for the poor and disadvantaged people we exist for. And the beauty of this production is that right through rehearsals and performances, our wonderful homeless and sometimes struggling guests are welcome to attend.

After all, this great little play has a huge theme...the wonder and value of life.”

Playwright Moss won the Premier’s Literary Award in 1984 with Down An Alley Filled With Cats which had productions on London’s West End and in New York, but is probably best known for the TV series ‘The Extraordinary’ which delved into ghostly matters and has screened in 72 countries. The larrikin storyteller and - for the past twenty years - documentary maker, has most recently filmed and produced the online series Stories from the Edge featuring Rev Bill. He wrote and performed in The Silver Tunnel’s original production in 1987.

This production features high profile singer/actor Ric Herbert (Jesus Christ Superstar, The Rocky Horror Show, The Full Monty, Equus, A Hard God, Underbelly, Wild Side and Sweet and Sour). He’s joined by talented newcomer Tim Matthews (Studio 3, Disney Channel).

The Silver Tunnel – written and directed by Warwick Moss
Presented by the Rev Bill Crews Foundation
Nightly at 8pm from Mon 9 to Sat 14 November
Ashfield Uniting Church 180 Liverpool Rd, Ashfield
Running time 55 minutes, tickets FREE
Covid-safe conditions apply with limit of 25 seats per show

www.thesilvertunnel.com