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Press Release: International Lighthouse Weekend 2008 - The Keeper

Issued: 27 July 2008

The Keeper, a new 50-minute one-woman show, will be a highlight of International Lighthouse Weekend at Cape Otway in mid August.

Set on a tiny island in a lonely sea, where human lives jostle and collide like waves on the rocks – The Keeper is a gothic tale of light and dark told through the life of Connie, who unwittingly hears a tragic story she must keep secret from her sister.

Canberra actor Chrissie Shaw will perform The Keeper in a busy line-up of live entertainment, historical re-enactments, ghost-busting and kids’ activities.

She became fascinated by the stories of lightkeeper families and spent time at lighthouses on Swan Island and South Bruny Island, both off Tasmania, gathering stories and gaining an understanding of the incredibly harsh, hard-working lives of the women.

“Because of the isolation and inaccessibility of many of the lighthouses, women had to be everything to everybody – child-carer, housekeeper, teacher, doctor and occasionally lightkeeper as well,” Shaw said.

“Lighthouses were built on dangerous places and many people, men, women and children died there.

“Because of the isolation also, human relationships were more intense and some horrifying incidents occurred throughout the history of the lighthouse service.

“But also many people who lived on lighthouses said that it was the best time of their lives, and the children mostly had a lot of fun.”

The play will be performed on Saturday, August 16, at 5:45pm. Tickets for a three-course dinner and the performance are $65.

A second performance will be staged on Sunday, August 17, with a two course buffet lunch and the show for $30.

Admission to the play only, on both days, is $20 for adults or $50 for a family.

For details call the Lightstation on 5237 9240 or see

What the critics said:

Frank McKone – The Canberra Times
“…Shaw reveals herself as a captivating and unassuming storyteller, weaving narrative and instruction together to reveal the lighthouse keeper’s life. Appealing to young and old alike, The Keeper is a poignant reminder of the courage and endurance of the lighthouse pioneers. “

Wendy Brazil ArtSound FM 92.17
“There is an astonishing charm in The Keeper. Chrissie is almost childlike in the telling of her stories – sometimes she sings a snatch of a song; she narrates bits of her stories…..It is a riveting performance – and one that should not be missed.”

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