The University of New England will be the venue this weekend for the world premiere of an extraordinary piece of musical theatre with music written by one of Australia’s most distinguished composers.
God’s Drawing Board is an “environmental epic” directed and partly written by UNE graduate Dr David Curtis.
The show follows the success of Plague and the Moonflower, with which Curtis and hundreds of members of the Armidale community captivated audiences at the Woodford Folk Festival in 2004.
God’s Drawing Board, based on the work of renowned British Gonzo artist Ralph Steadman, has music by the Australian composer Elena Kats-Chernin (pictured here), who arrived in Armidale during the week and will be present for the weekend’s performances.
In summing up the impact of the show, Dr Curtis, who is an Honorary Associate of the Institute for Rural Futures at UNE, said potential audiences could “think ‘Abbey Road’, think ‘Dark Side of the Moon’, think Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 or the final movement of Beethoven's 9th.
“Like these pieces, God’s Drawing Board has at least 12 brilliant melodies that get stuck in your head,” he said. “It has every imaginable musical texture â€“ from children singing with recorders, smashed dinner plates, and sopranos and piano, to full chorus and orchestra and earth-shattering bass drums. It covers every mood â€“ including reflection, anger, hilarity, satire, and transforming elation.”
While the impetus for the project is partly the result of Dr Curtis’s studies of â€“ and interest in â€“ the role the arts can play in raising awareness of environmental issues, the show is a hugely creative enterprise that has taken shape in Armidale due to the talents in music, dance and acting that the local community supports.
Tickets are still available for the show, which will be staged at the University’s Lazenby Hall at 8 pm on Saturday December the 6th and at 3 pm on Sunday December the 7th. They are available from Angus and Robertson (Centro, 6772 6000) and Armidale Art Gallery in The Mall (6772 9993).
THE PHOTOGRAPH of Elena Kats-Chernin displayed here was taken during a rehearsal for God’s Drawing Board in Lazenby Hall.