A magical quest through an enchanted forest

 Premiering April 2024

UNDERSTORY is a new-site specific theatre work for young audiences, an immersive and participatory experience that will premiere this April school holidays in the Hoop Pine Forest of the Lismore Botanic Gardens.

The story invites audiences to be active and viscerally engaged with the set, site and characters and progress the story through imaginative problem solving, games and activities with characters from the Understory world.

Understory is a contemporary myth which inspires custodianship and a deep curiosity and connection to the natural world in young people and their adult companions.

Photos from the creative development


Director | Writer: Valley Lipcer

Performers: Melia Naughton | Tom Davies

Sound Design: Phil Downing

Graphic Design: Anja Roehrdanz



First nations consultation and show song creation: Mitch King | Uncle Gilbert Laurie | Aunty Tania Marlow

Set & Prop Building: Joey Ruigrok Van der Werven | Martin Pedder | Marcia Star | Chloe Rowland | Charlotte Haywood

Script Development: Duncan Maurice | Caleb Lewis

Creative Development: Gabrielle Griffin |  Adrian Williams-Brett | Melia Naughton | Leif Lyall | Simon O’Brien

Extra Sound Recordings: Brett Canning & Lindisfarne Grammer students.

Environmental Education Consultation: Tiff Bollhorn

Process Drama Consultation: Lisa Apostolides & Byron Youth Theatre and Howard Cassidy

Story Consultation: Jenni Cargill- Strong

Participating Schools: The Living School | Lindisfarne Grammar

Community Partners: Lismore Rainforest Botanic Gardens | Lismore City Council





There is potential to have an Auslan interpreter. 

Check with the gardens on wheelchair access

Touring info


90 mins


2 x performers
3 x production



2 day bump in and sound tech.


This is a flexible and site-specific work that can be easily adapted to any public garden.


20- 30 audience at any one time. 

Watch the creative development trailer

‘ It was a joy to see the students so engaged in the production and the learning, rushing from clue to clue, listening to the recordings as though nature was talking to them. The students were thoroughly enraptured by the outdoor experience (so different to them sitting still, not talking, listening in a theatre). They were very much part of it. The excitement and the buzz on the bus after was tangible and they all agreed it was on the best productions they had ever been to. They eagerly discussed their favourite parts. One child on the bus home even declared – “it was the best day of my life”. I would thoroughly recommend the show to any primary class.’

Charlotte Pritchard
Year 3 Teacher, Living School

Understory is supported by the NSW Government through CREATE NSW.

The creative development of Understory was supported by NORPA