HOTA launches a magical family loungeroom adventure

HOTA, Home of the Arts has just launched an epic family adventure that can be embarked upon from the comfort of your lounge room. It’s called Mountain Goat Mountain, and it’s the ‘home theatre’ experience you never knew you needed.

Developed by Australian arts company Threshold, Mountain Goat Mountain is a narrative soundscape; a 45-minute audio-led journey in which participants crawl through tunnels, cross lava pits and swim through underwater caves, all without leaving home.

In fact, all you need to disappear into your own magical adventure is a charged audio device, a bed sheet, a piece of blank paper and pencils, pens or textas.

We spoke with artist and co-creator Sarah Lockwood of Threshold about this innovative experience, and how it all started.

“The world is so weird at the moment,” she laughs, “I wonder if it all came from a sleep deprivation blur!”

Taking just six weeks from conception to delivery, Mountain Goat Mountain was developed in response to lockdown restrictions and the closure of the live arts scene.

“We wanted families to have a chance to connect with each other in a time where there was a lot of time being spent together but also a lot of stress and anxiety,” explains Sarah.

“We thought people needed to feel nurtured, so we wanted to give them a moment of beauty and wonder, an opportunity to feel calmed.”

Although Mountain Goat Mountain was a fast response to a unique scenario, Sarah is quick to point out that its elemental themes and design still very much embody the mission of Threshold.

“We went into the business with a desire to create theatrical moments for people in their homes… we thought that we’d start exploring ways people could gather around key milestones in their lives, so we’ve looked at the first day of school, at birth, we’ve even got a card game for people who are considering a vasectomy! (laughs).”

Until the current project, the relational in-home theatre experiences produced by Threshold had taken the form of physical products, so in this case it was just a matter of keeping the principles and pivoting the medium.  Well, that and getting partners on board of course.

Fortunately for Threshold, this part turned out to be one of the easiest, with our very own HOTA, Home of the Arts, forming one of a quartet of Australian arts centres who were more than happy to work together to bring the project to a national audience, something Sarah has said has been a “unique and wonderful experience”.

And with no one really knowing what the world will look like post COVID-19, who knows? Virtual experiences like this might even become part of a normal arts landscape. As Sarah puts it, it’s an “opportunity to explore a new world together.”

You can explore the new world with Mountain Goat Mountain now via the HOTA website.

Natalie O’Driscoll

Created by artists, Zoë Barry, Liz Francis, Nikita Hederics, Tahli Corin and Sarah Lockwood for Threshold, this adventurous performance was developed with support of a national collaboration by art organisations, including HOTA, Arts Centre Melbourne, Adelaide Festival Centre’s DreamBIG Children’s Festival and AWESOME International Children’s Festival.

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