THE JOURNEY OF THE TICONDEROGA
A sea voyage | A tragedy | A love story
Michael Veitch has put together another one-man show, this time telling the true story of on one of the most dramatic, yet now forgotten chapters of Australia's early maritime history. Hell Ship is a tale of hardship and heroism; of survival and love.
In the spring of 1852, the emigrant clipper Ticonderoga limped through the heads of Melbourne's Port Phillip Bay after a three-month voyage from Liverpool. By the time she reached Australia, she was a floating catastrophe. Shortly after crossing the equator, typhus had erupted throughout her decks, and in just a few weeks, one hundred of her mainly Highland Scots emigrants had perished, hastily buried at sea with what little ceremony could be afforded. Schools of sharks, it was said, had stalked Ticonderoga's progress across the oceans.
Forbidden to enter Melbourne, the Ticonderoga was made to offload her human cargo onto a small beach inside the heads where, for the next six weeks, a makeshift quarantine hospital was established. Through the tireless efforts of the ship's young surgeon, aided by a handful of passengers, including a courageous young Scots woman from the Isle of Mull, many lives were saved, which went on to establish Australian families which thrive to this day. In a subsequent enquiry into the disaster, the young surgeon emerged as the hero of the Ticonderoga story, was briefly feted, then disappeared into a quiet life as a country doctor. As these stories sometimes go, he married the young nurse, Annie Morrison, and the two lived a long and happy life.
They were also Michael Veitch's Great-great grandparents, James William Henry Veitch and Annie Morrison. Hell Ship is very much a family story.
WORKSHOPS & INTERACTIONS
We love touring big cities, remote regional Australia and everything in-between. While doing this we've grown to understand the importance of engaging local communities whilst touring creative work.
Chester Creative & Michael Veitch have collated some workshop & interaction ideas that we think support this show, in either style or substance, and will add value to the regional experience.
Please be in touch if you're a Presenter and would like to book any of these with the show, or chat about your own ideas on how we can better assist connecting creatively with your community.
FIND THE STORY IN YOUR HISTORIC FACTS
EVERY FAMILY HAS A STORY TO SHARE
Are you one of the many people out there doing an extraordinary job as the family or community researcher, but are now finding that the 'story' eludes you? The re-telling of facts in a way that excites an audience can be a daunting task. Don't worry, this is a regularly occurring issue and one Michael Veitch can assist you with.
The facts in themselves, whilst startling, are often not a compelling story until woven into a form. It takes a certain visual storytelling method to flesh out the bones into a full and rich tale that others can enjoy.
Bring your story ideas - listen to tips and techniques. If you're doing a workshop you'll have the opportunity to put some of the learning into practice under the watchful (and helpful) eye of Michael himself.
THE IMPORTANCE OF LISTENING
INTERVIEW TECHNIQUES TO HEAR A STORY - NOT ASSUME ONE.
Listening is a dying art. We hear, we respond - but do we actually listen? Michael has authored four books plus written and performed a nationally toured play, FLAK, based on several years interviewing over 150 WW2 airmen - a 'life changing' experience, he says. For Hell Ship, it's been a case of talking to the descendants of the Ticonderoga and others affected by her saga.
In writing, we can often desire - or assume - a certain outcome, but what the pursuit of it blinds us to the germ of the story? And how do you coax a subject who doesn't really want to talk? Real life is often more than we can imagine, but to capture it, we need to learn to listen.
Michael will share his tips and ideas on how to get the best out of your interviewees. Great for students, journalists, historians and writers.
From page to stage
A GREAT STORY LIGHTS UP THE PAGES OF A BOOK, BUT MAKING IT LIGHT UP A STAGE IS QUITE ANOTHER MATTER.
So, do you have a favourite story you have always wanted to see performed live either by yourself or someone else? A family saga, perhaps, or the biography of a colourful ancestor? Perhaps it's a short story that has stuck in your mind all these years that you wish to make come alive to an audience or a special gathering? Or maybe you wish to demonstrate the powers of a parable to your work colleagues? It's all possible, and is all about telling the story a different way.
Michael has twice successfully gone through the process of transforming books into stage plays. Learn his techniques of bringing form to your words and life to ideas.
Performer, writer and broadcaster, Michael Veitch began his career during the heyday of 1980s Australian sketch comedy in such iconic shows as D-Generation and Fast Forward, before progressing to stage performance and newspaper writing. For several years, he presented the national TV arts program, Sunday Arts on ABC Television and broadcast across the country for ABC radio.
He is the author of eight published books, ranging from his interest in the stories of the airmen of the Second World War, to the exploration of the islands of Bass Strait, and the story of CSIRO's endeavours in marine science.
For the past several years, he has toured nationally with his one-man show, FLAK, based on his interviews with World War Two airmen.
The story of the Ticonderoga similarly delves into his love of history, but touches also on the themes of family, courage and love, shining a light on a monumental, but now almost forgotten chapter from our maritime history. A history in which his own family played a significant part.
Thank you to suzanne phoenix for the photographs of mr veitch taken for the ticonderoga project