Bangarra announces a special performance season in celebration of David Page. Bangarra Dance Theatre, together with Carriageworks, presents Dubboo – life of a songman: a special series of performances directed by Stephen Page celebrating the life and work of our beloved brother and songman David Page.

In the two years that have passed since Roy David Page left us, Bangarra have been looking to find the right time to honour his life and legacy. David was the right-hand man of the company, having joined Bangarra in 1991 with his brothers Stephen and Russell, alongside foundation member Djakapurra Munyarryun. David’s vision and dream for Bangarra created a wholly unique language that weaved together traditional song and movement, channeled the hum of the land and drove a revolution in contemporary Aboriginal dance.

David Page was not just the musical heartbeat of Bangarra Dance Theatre, but a remarkable creative force. He developed his incredible craft within Bangarra and established an innate talent for giving voice to Country and to land. Having written 27 original scores for the company’s repertoire and worked with over 100 traditional singers across the country, he reinvented the art of the soundtrack to encompass traditional language, song and instruments with the sounds of electronica, hip-hop, classical and the natural world. If you’ve heard his scores to Ochres, Mathinna, Terrain or Patyegarang, you’ve heard his genius at play.

Dubboo – life of a songman honours the incredible achievements of a formidable artist. Bringing together his love of classical, electronic and traditional music, cabaret, dance and drag, David’s boundless creativity will be celebrated in a dynamic and joyous performance. Composer Iain Grandage will respond to David’s music in a special series of performances animated by a string quartet, electronica, and the artistry of Bangarra’s dancers. Featuring a notable cast of David’s collaborators, including acclaimed Indigenous artists Archie Roach, Ursula Yovich and Djakapurra Munyarryun, this one-off celebration will be a heartfelt response to his lasting creative legacy and music. Having worked with David in a range of mediums, the three artists will call on their collective experiences to honour and bring his spirit home to rest.

David’s spirit was made up of two very different halves – that of the pioneer and innovative composer of Bangarra’s soundscapes and musical scores, but also one of Australia’s most regarded, witty and endearing performers. Dubboo – life of a songman reflects David’s diversity with the second chapter of the performance recalling his acclaimed one-man show Page 8 for Belvoir St Theatre, and exploring the many mediums where David was at home, from cabaret and storytelling to film and drag. First performed in 2004 and restaged in 2014 as part of Bangarra’s 25th anniversary season, Page 8 tracked David’s rise as a young singing star and brought his incredible life story to the stage. Combining passionate narration from Ningali Lawford-Wolf with the creative talents of Bangarra’s dance ensemble and performer Ben Graetz’s infamous alter ego Miss Ellaneous, David’s broad array of talents will take centre stage in a powerful celebration.

Over many years David spent much of his time nurturing the next generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander talent with his distinctive musical knowledge. In recognition of this, Bangarra introduced the inaugural David Page Music Fellowship in 2017, providing an emerging Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander composer with the opportunity to join the company for a 12-month period and learn the intrinsic composition and programming skills needed to create new scores for Bangarra under the mentorship and guidance of Steve Francis. Brendan Boney, our new David Page Music Fellow in 2018, will play an integral role in coordinating Dubboo – life of a songman, working closely with Stephen Page, Steve Francis and Iain Grandage to develop this unique performance.

David Page forged Bangarra’s sound, but also its love and spirit, bringing together music and song to create the heart and soul of the company. Join us for this special celebration in a very special season at Carriageworks on 6-8 December 2018.