The Foundation was inspired by The Red Tree (2001), a picture book written and illustrated by Shaun Tan. Richly illustrated, it presents a fragmented journey through a dark world, with images inspired by the experience of depression. The main character is a lonely red-headed girl. A red leaf from a red tree follows the girl through her day, stating how she feels and depicting her worries. Almost unnoticed in each picture is a small red leaf, symbolising hope. At the end, the little girl stands smiling at a beautiful red-leafed tree growing in her bedroom. See The Red Tree.
Elderslee Foundation recognises the connection between participation in cultural activity and the arts and well-being. We believe that by calling our major performance space Red Tree Theatre, we are taking our place in the creative community of the Central Coast, encouraging social connection and community cohesion, and making a positive contribution to the health and well-being of the community.
The Foundation commissioned Grant Maloney, a local artist to give expression to our Red Tree Theatre, and it is his evocative and dramatic painting in the foyer of our Centre that patrons see upon entering this space. This beautiful artwork reminds us of our shared humanity and the powerful connection between the arts, hopefulness and well-being.