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At The Threshold

Posted by Team APATA | Sep 2, 2021

Threshold creates experiences that bring people together at life’s big moments.

From audio theatre experiences to analogue treasure hunts Threshold’s indoor adventures have brought the delight and wonder of theatre to thousands of homes across the globe.

Threshold experiences provide prompts for deeper connection, physical closeness and to help people to find the poetic and playful in milestone moments.

Meet Tahli Corin and Zoë Barry part of the creative team behind Threshold’s lockdown hit Mountain Goat Mountain.



Tahli Corin is an award-winning playwright, dramaturg and producer. Her work has been presented at Griffin Theatre Company, Belvoir (B Sharp) and Sydney Theatre Company. As a producer she has worked for Melbourne Fringe, Theatre Works, and produced Blak & Bright, Victorian Indigenous Literature Festival at the Wheeler Centre.

Sarah Lockwood is a theatre maker, performer, producer and civil celebrant interested in ritual and performance. For the past 10 years she has been the Creative Producer of Drop Bear Theatre, creating immersive theatre work for families. Their performance installation Rain: for babies and their carers’ was created at Artplay, and has toured for the last 6 years including in 2018 to Hong Kong International Arts Carnival and Lincoln Center NYC.

Zoë Barry is a cellist, composer, performance maker and educator creating chamber music, film scores, gallery sound installations, and immersive theatre experiences.
She co-created Patch Theatre Company’s The Lighthouse, Emily Loves to Bounce, and Me And My Shadow, which continue to tour nationally and internationally. She created the score for The Ballroom Project’s Ping Pong WOW and The Ballroom. Zoë performs in Drop Bear Theatre, Edwina Cordingley and The Seam’s production of Rain for Babies And Carers, and with them has developed a relational practice, creating The Boy Who Loved Tiny Things and DIG. Zoë directs the Harmony In Strings program at Sacred Heart Primary in Melbourne, and has worked with the MSO’s The Pizzicato Effect in pedagogy and practice. A Teaching Artist, Zoë creates resources for the early years, including the book and cd phonic series The Tree And The Key.

Speaking with Tahli Corin and Zoë Barry, both based in the regional community of Kyneton, Victoria, was like taking a deep breath and settling into a sunny nook with a good cup of tea. These performance makers are part of the larger collaborative creative team behind Mountain Goat Mountain. An at-home theatre experience for families that has warranted accolades from the NY Times and Early Arts UK and has become a lockdown go-to for families.

Little beginnings

Born on Ngarkat Country on the border of South Australia and Victoria, in Pinnaroo, before moving to the Barossa Valley. A move, Tahli says, that enabled access to cultural experiences not available in the smaller farming community of her hometown.

Zoë, who grew up on Kaurna Land, had ready access to an education rich in creative possibilities, learning cello from Year Four at school and then continuing on to her local high school which was one of four specialist arts high schools in Adelaide.

Tahli:There was a new regime put on us as kids when we moved to the Barossa Valley. We had to do one sport and one musical instrument and like Zoë I did have a beautiful piano teacher when I was in Primary School. I wasn’t a fabulous student by any means, I would dance around the room yelling out time signatures. There was no way I was sitting on a little piano stool for these lessons, so it was a very embodied way of starting that creative or cultural engagement.”

From those early interactions with music Tahli and Zoë’s paths a spark was certainly kindled. In high school Zoë played prolifically across various ensembles immersing herself in her school’s Baroque stream. While Tahli headed into acting.

Zoë: “I started performing professionally while I was still at high school, so I was getting the incredible experience of professional music making while learning about that relationship between you and an audience. The beautiful thing about baroque repertoire is it involves historical research, as you need to look at authentic ways of performing it, but there’s also a great amount of creativity when interpreting the repertoire. That really clicked with me, this idea of the notes as just a way into the expression, and I loved all the philosophy behind the baroque idioms- I loved all the rhetoric and how it was tied in with dance. There was a very rich learning going on there and it allowed areas of improvisation in all things, even composition, and as I look back now, I see that that really helped with my comfort in being able to move away from writing notes in the classical world and moving into composition which I started to do when I was at Uni.”

Tahli: I went to a private Lutheran school and my drama teacher at the time, is now my father-in-law. One year we had a fill-in drama teacher, and she was an actor with real life experience and at that moment I thought – this is a profession. I didn’t grow up understanding that there were employment opportunities in the creative industries, but that was certainly a moment when a little light bulb went off. That something I enjoyed so much could be a real job. I started acting for 3 years at the Centre for Performing Arts in Adelaide. The biggest takeaway from that was as a young woman understanding the power of both the physical aspect of my body, but also the power of my voice.”

Still so much like the little girl who couldn’t sit still at the piano, Tahli realised she couldn’t wait around to be an actor. Acting required waiting. Waiting for auditions, waiting for parts and waiting for permission to practice your craft. Not a favourite activity for someone with itchy feet, so she started producing and playwriting.

Spending months on the road every year with Monkey Bar Theatre for Young People, writing became not only something to down in her downtime as an extension of her impatience, but also a response to some of the roles she could see coming her way.

Tahli: “I was feeling like, I don’t know these people and they didn’t seem quite as funny, or as smart, or as passionate as the women I was meeting so I started writing, and then producing my writing. I still do define myself as a playwright because the puzzles I love to solve revolve around words, around dialogue, around how people speak to each other and to themselves. That’s still the craft that I’m most passionate about.”

Zoë meanwhile was continuing to perform and teach. Teaching one-on-one instrumental lessons and string programs she also worked with The Song Room as a teaching artist.

Zoë: “It was quite life-changing working with The Song Room and for my practice to evolve as a teaching artist. We’ve had a long relationship and my time as a teaching artist (in marginalised communities) was not necessarily that ‘You’re going to be a musician or a performer’…your life is art, you are the art. Art will change the way you move through the world, how you notice things, how you draw on the mysterious and how you relate to people. I’ve always tried to make the experiences and time we had together extremely meaningful. Finding ways to make a ritual of appreciating a piece of music in  different ways and thinking about it in a deeper way.”

Completing a degree in ethno-musicology Zoë began moving into composition. Playing in various bands and working with theatre and dance theatre Zoë co-founded dance theatre company Ladykillers whose mission was to create other universes through installations and experimental performance experiences.

Tahli Corin and Sarah Lockwood: On the Threshold…

Sarah Lockwood For the past 10 years, Sarah has been the Creative Producer of Drop Bear Theatre, a theatre company creating immersive theatre work for families which include Dig: for toddlers and their carers and The Boy Who Loved Tiny Things and Rain: for babies and their carers.

Sarah’s relationship with The Seam, a collective of four female artists who studied creative arts therapy at the MIECAT Institute, and cellist Edwina Cordingley led to their first collaboration Rain: for babies and their carers. Zoë Barry joined Rain as the installation’s instrumentalist for a season opening up a whole world of revelatory creativity for Barry.

Zoë: I was asked to come and play for one of those seasons of ‘Rain: for babies and their carers’ and it really blew my mind that you could change the way of families being together by creating very carefully thought through spaces and installations. Thinking how can we make this space completely safe for all the babies so that the carers can switch of the risk assessment part of their brain and just be. It was a real revelation how powerful that work was and from that we moved into making the work called ‘The Boy Who Loved Tiny Things.’

The Boy Who Loved Tiny Things focused on families coming together with everyone equally finding ways to be in the space, while kids intuitively adjust it can be challenging for adults to let go. They need a lot of permissions and a lot of care to be able to let themselves be and not judge themselves.

Zoë: We started to think about this term of relational theatre making where every aspect of the work comes from the question, “Is there a way we can create a space that allows for some kind of possibility of transformation between the family members or group?” There’s a real flow in making that kind of work because it’s very clear to us whether something will add to that possibility or not.”


While Sarah was involved in these conversations & collaborations, she and Tahli were also discussing how they could use their skills as theatre makers to create moments of connection for people at particular points in their lives. Most of the team who helped create Mountain Goat Mountain live regionally, and prior to the pandemic these conversations tackled, “How do we make theatre for people that don’t have access to the venues that are presenting work?” Whether that’s because of geography, socio-economic reasons, or physical access. And how to make theatre more accessible in those terms.

Tahli:When the pandemic hit Threshold was about one year old. We had some analogue works, but the pandemic gave us an opportunity to investigate a digital version of a physical workshop called ‘Mountains of Kindness’ with Zoë and some other collaboratives that happened here locally with the local council and those questions around creating the conditions and how audiences are invited into the space were very much at play within that and would go on to create Mountain Goat Mountain.

Zoë: “With the ‘Mountains of Kindness’ workshop, we were exploring ideas on how everyone in a family navigates the world. Especially when you have a young person about to start school or kindergarten. The elasticity between everyone is starting to be stretched. You need to work out how you and your child might move through the world and finding modes of checking in with each other through non-verbal, physical, drawing, and other forms. We realised this idea of navigating and stretching, and expansion could be interesting in this time of confinement, when we needed to find ways to check in with each other.”

Sarah Lockwood was very quick to work with Susannah Sweeney from Dream Big Festival and Adelaide Festival to pull together a group of presenters: Arts Centre Melbourne, Home Of The Arts on the Gold Coast and Awesome Festival in Perth, who were ready to take a risk on a new form. It all happened very quickly.

Tahli: “The whole creative process took place over Zoom, and it was such an interesting experience particularly when I think about how fast the Zoom process tend to be now – but the space and time and the conversations that were had on screen were really so rich from the word go. We also had our WhatsApp thread where we were collecting images and we also used MURAL software which is like a post-it note, brain mapping software where we were able to put all of the information and layers, and millions of things people were doing and completed the work through these modes of communication. Six weeks later Mountain Goat Mountain was released.”

Meet The Mountain Goat Mountain Creative Team

A blissful bundle of creativity layered upon technology. Mountain Goat Mountain welcomes you in through the website (thethreshold.com.au) with video, audio, imagery and words paving a smooth flowing road to create a theatrical space in your own home, the way Threshold would do if they were at a venue welcoming an audience.

Tahli: “It was so surreal to be putting a piece of work out into the world that we had never seen. As theatre makers and performers, you’re so used to being able to read an audience and adjust things in that way. We did do some testing and interviewed families who had completed ‘Mountain Goat Mountain’ during some early iterations and adjusted the work accordingly, but there was a great deal of trust.”

Zoë: “Yes, we were never able to observe a family doing Mountain Goat Mountain because of the hard lockdown.”

Tahli: “One of my favourite things about ‘Mountain Goat Mountain’ is that it responds to the unique dynamics of the family. The data tells us that people are doing it at 8am in the morning, straight out of bed, a theatre show could never do that! What we’re learning about this mode of theatre is that it provides space for deeper intimacy, and it inspires me to investigate this form and the possibilities of it.”

What’s next for Threshold?

Hide-And-Go-Sleep and Featherquest are our analogue works. What’s next is returning to the incredible work that Drop Bear Theatre, Edwina Cordingley, Zoë, and The Seam created with Rain for Babies And Carers looking at how to make a digital adaptation of a work for parents and carers of young children who may struggle to get to the theatre for numerous reasons.

What do you love about what you do?

Zoë: “I love the chance, in this kind of work, to have very long collaborative relationships with people for this kind of work. We’re in our forties now and we have that great privilege of knowing people for decades and carrying on this artistic conversation and noticing how we’re changing and what we’re drawn to and what we’re drawn to make and what we’re drawn to experience in the arts. And feeling grateful that we can still find ways to make work and for this opportunity we’ve had through all of this upheaval and trauma to really think about what’s necessary. Is the work we make necessary? What do audiences need? And to really rethink all of that. Before the pandemic we were thinking about access and equality and now we’ve gone deeper because of this last year.”

For Tahli hearing from audiences and learning what they need at this time has removed a lot of the “I” when it comes to making work.

“What I love about what I’ve learnt in the last 12-24 months is when I talk about how I got to where I am, I think about the way that ‘I’ve’ driven things – the way ‘I’ wanted to write or how ‘I’ wanted to present productions and there’s a lot of ‘I’ in that. This work focusing on particular moments of time and responding to the needs of the moment and hearing from audiences and people about what they need has flipped in way that I’m finding deeply satisfying, and has also removed a lot of the ‘I’ which is a relief and a real privilege.

Who are your mentors?

Tahli: “I met my husband at a very young age and he’s a screenwriter. We’re in our forties now and this isn’t an easy industry. So, to stay committed to a creative practice, to stay committed to curiosity and not knowing answers and living a beautiful and creative life. You get one shot, and I’m just so grateful to be walking with someone who I can experience that with. An extension of that gratitude goes to Kyneton and the creative community here. To be with people like Zoë as a collaborator and as a friend who gives so generously into that space. That’s the ongoing mentorship in my life. People who remind me how valuable and sacred the act of creativity, and connection through creativity is.”

Zoë: “We’ve been in Kyneton for ten years and I had no understanding of what living in a smaller regional place was, but it allows that village sense of having important people around that you can bump into those important people on the street and have conversations about parenting, the novel you’ve just read or making the work. All of it is entwined which keeps the energy going and the inspiration going because things aren’t separated. I’m so grateful as well that we all happened to end up in this place. I’ too have the great privilege of having a partner that works in the arts and is supportive of my practice. We are always putting the creative first, and all of our decisions come from that. To have that long conversation and seeing how my partner moves through the world too, and his exploration and inspiration in creating is fascinating. My first two cello teachers were also hugely inspiring because I would have my lessons at their house and so just being in that space of an artist seeing what posters they had, learning who Chagall was and looking through their books and records. They were very strong women who had made a life centred around their craft and becoming experts in their craft. Working with such discipline their whole lives as musicians was rigorous, and then through all that is freedom and expression.”

Big Dreams for Tahli Corin and Sarah Lockwood at Threshold, and Zoë Barry.

Tahli:Our big dream is to create a suite of works that mark life’s big moments and that connect people through a creative experience in those times, whether its divorce, first day of school, the death of a pet. A suite of theatrical and creative responses to those moments that connect people with their community whether that’s family or the community around them. That’s the big vision for Threshold

Zoë: “I’d like to carve out time for my solo practice so I can get some of these ideas I have in my head out into the world while keeping my collaborative relationships and teaching.”

Advice to students:

Tahli: “This industry is about relationships, life is about relationships, who you’re traveling with and how they build you up and support you along the way. It can be difficult, so find and surround yourself with good people who can build you up and help you to do whatever it is you want to achieve.”

Zoë: “Ask someone to be your mentor! Keep filling up your soul and your heart and your craft with learning, whether it’s with the mode of art that you practice or another mode, but keep filling it up, so that in those times when you’re not practicing, or you can’t practice, you’ve got all that art within you and you can love things that other people make.”





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