Australian artist, writer and filmmaker Shaun Tan’s award-winning picture book, The Red Tree, will be brought to life on stage in a new musical theatre work at Arts Centre Melbourne from 3 – 4 August 2019.
The Red Tree takes audiences on an extraordinary journey to a world of pure imagination, where origami boats embark on ocean voyages, giant fish host musical interludes, and parades pass by. It is the story of a young girl living inside her bedroom and how she conquers her fears and anxieties, finally embracing hope and taking control of the world around her.
The much loved darkly beautiful adaptation is the work of multi award-winning playwright Hilary Bell, award-winning songwriter and composer Greta Gertler Gold, production designer James Browne and director Neil Gooding.
Drawing on Brooklyn-based composer Gertler Gold’s extensive musical background, the original score for The Red Tree fuses pop, classical and traditional musical theatre elements with sound design and digital recording technology in an exciting contemporary twist.
Neil Gooding said bringing Shaun Tan’s book to life on stage had been an exciting challenge. “The Red Tree is a work of brilliance. It is evocative, emotional and unique,” says Gooding. “I was thrilled to work with Hilary Bell and Greta Gertler Gold to find a way of telling the narrative through action and music in a way that we hope will engage audiences of all ages.”
“The casting of Nicola Bowman has been a vital ingredient in finishing off the presentation of The Red Tree. Nicola is a star of the future – a wonderful actress and stage presence, whose singing voice has to be heard to be believed.”
The Red Tree book has captured the interest of readers around the world. An acclaimed Australian work, The Red Tree won the Patricia Wrightson Prize in the 2002 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards and ‘le Prix Octogones 2003’ prize by the Centre International d’Etudes en Literature de Jeunesse, following its translation into French.
Shaun Tan began drawing and painting images for science fiction and horror stories in small-press magazines as a teenager, and has since become best known for illustrated books that deal with social and historical subjects through dream-like imagery.
The Rabbits, The Red Tree, Tales from Outer Suburbia, Rules of Summer and the acclaimed wordless novel, The Arrival have been widely translated and enjoyed by readers of all ages.
Shaun has also worked as a theatre designer, a concept artist for animated films including Pixar’s WALL-E, and directed the Academy Award-winning short film The Lost Thing. In 2011 he received the presitgious Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, honouring his contribution to international children’s literature.
The Red Tree
Fairfax Studio – Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St Kilda Road, Melbourne
Performances: 3 & 4 August 2019
Information and Bookings: www.artscentremelbourne.com.au
Image: The Red Tree – photo by Noni Carroll