The Freda Experience


The Freda Experience
Audience members ‘climb’ in the footsteps of pioneering Australian Mountaineer Freda Du Faur the first woman to climb Mt Cook in 1910. Roped together in groups they are guided through a series of interactive exhibits then set up their own bivouacs to experience the final ascent


The Freda Experience is an immersive participatory theatre piece. The concept is to give the audience an evocative, lived experience of a young adventurous women in the early 20th Century breaking the glass ceiling of convention. It is as if the audience are visiting a Freda Du Faur living museum. They register for a climb, are roped together in small groups and are guided through a number of ‘stations’. These ‘stations’ are drawn from aspects of Freda’s life – a slide show presentation by Freda of her Mt Cook ascent; a literary salon; and a ‘rest cure’ in a private hospital ward where Freda was administered deep sleep therapy to try and reorient her sexual preference. The guides then lead the audience in the pitching of their bivouacs in readiness for the final ascent. Elements of Freda’s life, as well as the experience of being high up on a mountain are conveyed through projections, soundscape and live action.

Concept & direction: Verity Higgins in collaboration with Jillian Pearce and Jim Coad.

Click here to download  The Freda Experience Media Kit

Main image: Freda Du Faur – George Mannering, Canterbury Museum
Additional images taken by Shane Carey & Christine Sayer at the Castlemaine Festival 2015




Creative Vic                                                         raf-rav-inline


I was captivated by the visual elements of the performance and the physical experience of being part of the action.

- Mary French, Creative Development in Natimuk, July 2013

The Team:

  • Concept & direction: Verity Higgins
  • Key collaborators: Jillian Pearce & Jim Coad
  • Set design: Georgie Humphries
  • Sound design: Wayne Parker
  • Performers/guides: Aurora Kurth, Jillian Pearce, Kate Finnerty, Tim Ratcliffe
  • Projections: Jim Coad
  • Lighting: Katie Sfetkidis
  • Costumes: Janette Wotherspoon

Additional Features:

  • This piece can enliven a number of spaces in a venue.
  • The audience are a key component of the performance.
  • The performance can be repeated up to three times in one day.

Technical Specifications:

  • A variety of spaces in walking distance - one large enough for gentle exercise class, two regular rooms for literary salon & slide presentation for small group, one with height to rig the 'bivouacs' and infrastructure to allow for mounting projectors
  • Three data projectors (we can provide)
  • Basic lighting - domestic & theatrical
  • PA system