Jan ‘Yarn’ Wositzky presents ‘Out of the Hat’

Storyteller and musician Jan Wositzky will weave his magic as part of this year's Fringe. Photo: Brian Carr.
Storyteller and musician Jan Wositzky will weave his magic as part of this year's Fringe. Photo: Brian Carr.

Renowned local storyteller and musician Jan ‘Yarn’ Wositzky is set to feature as part of this year’s Castlemaine Fringe Festival with a new show ‘Out of the Hat: The Other Side of History’ next weekend, March 25 and 26, at The Coolroom at Castlemaine’s Northern Arts Hotel.
Jan is famous for his history shows, beginning with The Bushwackers Band in 1971 – and still going strong.
Following ten years of Bushwackers touring in Australia and Europe, Jan embarked on a solo career, travelling the country with his family, working with Indigenous people ‘up north’, and producing acclaimed one-man shows Buckley and Bilarni, a dozen history features for Radio National, award-winning television documentaries Buwarrala Akarriya – Journey East and Aeroplane Dance, best-selling oral history books Me & Phar Lap and Born Under the Paperbark Tree, and many shows for schools. This show, ‘Out of the Hat – The Other Side of History’, is what happened on the way.
The performance is personal and intimate, with the audience choosing the set list – out of the hat – and Jan stringing it together with songs, poems, tales of love and death and weird adventures in foreign lands.
Such as, how his Czech grandmother’s sister mistook him for Rasputin; the travails of long-distance romance in the time of Covid; meeting God and Kerry Packer in a bush church; a significant death in Castlemaine; broken bones and re-birth in Bali; how, after two divorces, one should propose to a new love – and lots more … you know, just the normal stuff of life, accompanied on claw-hammer banjo, harmonica, bodhran, spoons, bones and ukulele. With sing-alongs!
Writer Josiane Behmoiras describes the new offering as “Intimate, spontaneous and very touching, a wonderful show.”
Jan was deep into rehearsals this week with director Suzanne Ingleton when he took some time out to chat to the Mail about the new show.
Jan says many of the songs and stories shared in this new performance have rarely been performed and audience members will literally be drawing them ‘out of a hat’ which will be passed around.
“There is a lot more music in this show and some poetry too. It’s a really interactive show, quite personal. We haven’t done the same show twice in rehearsals so it will be interesting to see the order of things and how it comes together. Both shows will be completely different each day. It could be challenging if two items really don’t go together but therein lies the risk. I will just have to improvise and make it work! I’m really looking forward to it!” Jan said.
Tickets are limited. Visit outofthehat.eventbrite.com.au

Lisa Dennis
Editor of the Castlemaine Mail newspaper and senior journalist on our sister paper the Midland Express. Over the last 24 years Lisa been proudly reporting news in the Mount Alexander and Macedon Ranges communities.