Treasure Hunting on the Streets of Sydney

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Street performers are transforming Sydney’s hidden parks.

Sydney's Inner West is the stomping ground for all the city's freaks, geeks, and heroin chic. Recently these theatrical displays were made “official” with a series of shows called Micro Parks, performed in the tiny green spaces of Newtown and Erskineville.

First challenge: could we actually find them? It's was a theatre treasure hunt that had our teammates hanging out on street corners, searching beyond the edges of train lines, and poking our noses down narrow, suburban streets.

Stop one, Benched, was set on, you guessed it, a park bench. The clipped, neat lawn and graffitied walls, with trains whipping past in the background made for a surreal theatre setting. There, performers Martin del Amo and Julie-Anne Long turned a lonely park bench into the third member of their troupe. Backed by strains of classic Italian film, things quickly turned weird. 

Heading towards Erskineville train station, we stumbled on a group of people waiting for the next show to start. But hidden in their sea of faces were show performers Jess Olivieri and the Parachutes for Ladies, who started their piece I am an Island with bizarro siren singing as they sought each other out through the crowd.

But the reunion was short lived, and soon the hipster mermaids melted away. So it was off to the Wabi-Sabi Afternoon Tea, just a few blocks away. It turns out tea-drinking and biscuit-eating make for the perfect spot to spy on fellow underground theatregoers.

The adventure closed with a more literal treasure hunt. Kate Mitchell wanted to give us Some Extra Luck with her artwork in which she's planted a handful of lucky four-leaf clovers in a patch of ordinary ones.

Here's to getting lucky in 2013.

Photos courtesy of Monica Tan.