A magical quest through an enchanted forest

UNDERSTORY is a new-site specific theatre work for young audiences, an immersive and participatory experience to be presented outdoors across various sites within a botanical gardens setting. 

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.

Understory is supported by the NSW Government through CREATE NSW.

 The creative development of Understory was supported by NORPA and Arts Northern Rivers Big Idea seed funding. 

Premiering in April 2024

Creative Team

Director/Writer: Valley Lipcer

Set Designer: Joey Ruigrok Van der Werven

Props: Martin Pedder

Graphic Design: Anja Roehrdanz 

Performers/ Devisors: Melia Naughton, Tom Davies

Sound Design: Phil Downing

Education Consultation: Tiff Bollhorn

Process Drama Consultation: Lisa Apostilides and Byron Youth Theatre

Story Consultation:  Jenni Cargill- Strong, Caleb Lewis

Script Development: Duncan Maurice

Participating Schools: The Living School, Lindesfarne Grammar

Community Partners: Lismore Rainforest Botanic Gardens, Lismore City Council




There is potential to have an Auslan interpretor. 

Check with the gardens on wheelchair access

Touring info


120 mins


3 x performers
2 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.


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