Phil and the team on the tools, March 31 2021

How do you make a show like this? There are so many ways, a million moving parts, many hands making light work of the impossible, a startling, magical example of human ingenuity. The perfect alignment of the art with the artisan. The majesty and dignity of the trade, the instinct to form and function, and then the meeting of the practical and artistic thought into a single intent. Build the set, and you build the show.

It takes hundreds of pallets, donated by the community. Generous, selfless giving. Ask and you shall receive. What better place to build a world out of pallets than here in our agricultural heartland? What better place to find men who have the skills, the patience and the commitment to make this thing of precision, insight and strength, than a town where the bonds of brotherhood have been forged through years and generations of industry, trade, training and expertise? What more perfect marrying of the idea and the realisation than a town where the history of our industry and innovation is as long as our seeking for and celebration of the arts?

This Riverina Aesthetic – agricultural, cultural, communal. This rural heartland. Place and spirit in one. The grace and form of manual arts – woodwork, carpentry, engineering, construction, scaffolding, metalwork – form and function, form and function, for art is a rare trade, like all other manual and industrial arts, and there is more akin between the actor and carpenter , the artists and the tradesman, than any other. Craftsmen. Competent, skilled and in mastery of the physical. The knowledge of how to make manifest the idea into the world through your own hands.

Build the set, and you will build the show. See how they transform the space, and the sense of ourselves. Running maintenance for our rice industry or building a set that Shakespeare himself would have coveted – it is all part of the sacred continuum.

These are the stories of the magic of Henry V.

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