Tim Maddren on Banjo
On Saturday March 30 at 8pm, we have a truly unique production playing at the Manning Entertainment Centre, by the name of Banjo.
It’s just enjoyed a phenomenally successful season in Port Macquarie, and it’s heading to Sydney, but luckily local Mid Coast audiences have the opportunity to see it here before the cast wows the city crowds.
Co-creator of the show Tim Maddren shared with me the story of how this fascinating show evolved, beginning with describing the production itself.
“The production intertwines the life of Banjo Paterson through arrangements of Coldplay's greatest hits, Paterson's very own verse and contemporary dance. Sounds crazy, but it is a fantastic show.”
He went on to describe the history of the show. “Only weeks after my wife and I made the move from Sydney to Port Macquarie I read Paterson’s Clancy of The Overflow. I discovered what Paterson was talking about in his poem, written in 1889, was something that we had just lived through ourselves in 2017. Before leaving Sydney, we too were both questioning why, in a country with such space, we clump in our millions into the cities. One hundred and 30 years on, I felt, what Paterson was writing about in Clancy of The Overflow was more relevant than ever.”
There was a lot within Paterson’s works that resonated with him.
“As I delved deeper into Paterson’s works I found a number of his other poems spoke of similar frustrations with city life, whilst at the same time championing a life in the country/bush," he explained. "I also found a number of his works carried themes of ambition, love, loss and a search for paradise.”
And where does Coldplay come in? “The whole idea of ‘paradise’ became the first solid connection with Coldplay," Tim mused.
"Paradise is one of their most iconic songs and it too speaks of a search for paradise…it was after these continued discoveries I started to match these two unlikely strangers together. In the production we use Paterson's own verse and Coldplay's works to follow the story of Paterson's life”
Like many who hear about the show, I was intrigued about the inclusion of contemporary dance.
“The element of dance really helps us tell his story,” Tim revealed. “Dance gives us the space to share his story in a slightly more abstract way. It also gives the audiences a brand new way of interacting with Paterson’s poetry and Coldplay’s music.”
And interact we most certainly should, as this production is one of the most original and enjoyable performances you’re likely to see all year.
Bookings can be made online at the MEC.com.au, by phoning 6592 5466 or dropping in to the MEC during box office hours, and seven days a week at Stockland Forster.
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