Puppets, people, LIOR, Charles Darwin and a round-the-world reconnaissance…..
The word premiere season of the epic stage production
THE WIDER EARTH opens from July 14
presented by Queensland Theatre Company and Dead Puppet Society
Very soon a tiny longhorn beetle, the majestic southern right whale and the ancient Galapagos tortoise will share the stage with some of our greatest acting talent in what will be an extraordinary theatrical event – the highly anticipated world premiere of The Wider Earth, a groundbreaking collaboration between Queensland Theatre Company and the insanely talented Brisbane-born team who are Dead Puppet Society, together with acclaimed Australian singer-songwriter Lior and famed Sydney-based producer Tony Buchen.
An epic stage production, and commissioned by Queensland Theatre Company, The Wider Earth is set to reframe the visual theatre experience and over 30 custom-created puppets, eight actors and now two of Australia’s leading musical creators in Lior and Buchen. The puppets have been in design and creation for eight weeks and rehearsals begin next week.
Opening on July 14, the production is the most ambitious for Dead Puppet Society to date, and is the result of nurturing from all over the globe after the company spent time working with the genre-breaking Handspring Puppet Company in South Africa and traveling to the Galapagos, before taking up a Residency in the New York City-based St. Anne’s Warehouse.
With a bevy of astonishing puppets breathing life into creatures great and small – from the tiniest longhorn beetle to the majestic southern right whale and the ancient Galapagos tortoise – The Wider Earth reimagines the tale of scientific visionary Charles Darwin’s voyage on the HMS Beagle.
“It’s much more than that however; it’s a coming-of-age story about science and faith, and how one doubting young man with a questing heart set out to ask a question of Mother Nature, and found the answer to everything,” said David Morton from Dead Puppet Society, who penned The Wider Earth and will also direct and design. “And because of the nature of the story and the world we are creating, our collaboration with Lior and Buchen is absolutely and totally perfect. We will work with both of them to create an original score which will accompany the entire production, given the important role that music will play in supporting the visual storytelling of this production,” he said.
Lior is one of Australia’s most successful singer-songwriters, renowned for his beautiful voice and songs that radiate with truth and sincerity. He is an ARIA award winner and eight time nominee including Best Male Artist, Triple J’s prestigious ‘J Award’ nomination for album of the year and Best Independent Release. Although Lior has composed for television, winning Best Original Song Composed for the Screen for Giggle and Hoot at the 2012 APRA Screen Music Awards, this project represents his first foray into composition for theatre.
Similarly, Sydney-based producer, mixer and songwriter Tony Buchen is sought after all around the world because of his immense talent. Most recently he has worked with emerging Australian artists The Preatures, Asta, Thelma Plum, Jeremy Neale and Montaigne, and is equally at home mixing the debut album for Californian mega choir The Silver Lake Chorus, providing string arrangements for US based duo The Falls, and collaborating on string quartet Fourplay’s latest project with acclaimed UK author Neil Gaiman.
“We’re so excited that this work will bring human performers and our trademark puppet characters together in a meaningful way that isn’t often seen in mainstream theatre,” said Morton.
The story of The Wider Earth will take audiences from the dizzying heights of the Andes to the depths of the Amazon rainforest, through the storms of Tierra del Fuego, to the endless wonders of the Galapagos Islands, and while the sense of creation and theatre will be incredibly visual and at times, jaw-dropping, Morton advises the tale is very much for an adult audience.
INFO and TICKETS at qldtheatre.com.au
Night with the Artists: Thursday 21 July and Thursday 4 August
Play Briefing: Monday 4 July
Writer/Director/Co-Designer: David Morton
Creative Producer: Nicholas Paine
Co-Designer: Aaron Barton
Lighting Designer: David Walters
Composer: Tony Buchen
Sound Designer: Tony Brumpton
AV/Animator: Justin Harrison
Illustrator: Anna Straker
Cast Includes: Tom Conroy, Anthony Standish, Lauren Jackson, Margi Brown-Ash, Thomas Larkin, David Lynch, Jonty Martin, Anna Straker
Dead Puppet Society acknowledges St. Ann’s Warehouse as the original development partner.