Flinders University Drama Lecturer Sarah Peters has written a play based on her 2016 walking trek along the Camino de Santiago, also known in English as The Way of St James, an 800 kilometre pilgrimage across northern Spain. She is now presenting this work, titled Blister, at Holden Street Theatres in Hindmarsh from 31 July to 3 August – her first production in Adelaide since she moved from Queensland two years ago.

The director of Blister is Dr Tiffany Lyndall Knight, who recently received the Flinders University Vice-Chancellor’s Prize for Doctoral Thesis Excellence, and two alumni from Flinders feature in the cast – Ashton Malcolm, as Rosie, and Huw Parham. Sarah, who has also walked the Inca trail in Peru, explains that she did the Camino trek to discover the stories of other adventurers but also had to confront her own past.

Sarah said she had drawn from encounters with real people walking The Way. “Blister explores what happens when daily life is reduced to a 10-kilogram pack, a pair of boots, and a series of yellow arrows pointing you in the right direction… most of the time. I had always intended to write a play about this experience, but I didn’t really know what form that play might take, or how much my own story would be included. The central protagonist in Blister, Rosie, is based primarily on my experience with a bit of creative licence taken here and there, but the play is not so much about her as it is about the people she meets, the stories that were shared, and the humanity she experienced,” she says.

“For me personally, walking the Camino was an incredible experience that has made me see the world and myself a little differently, and that’s part of what I hope to achieve in telling this story through theatre. My favourite part so far of bringing the experience and stories of the Camino to the theatre has been hearing other people read the words of the play out loud. I get the thrill of remembering the story in my memory, the joy of hearing someone express the emotion I have written, and the opportunity to hear the story anew through the unique interpretation that each actor brings.”

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