The-Space-Company-Stardust-The-Missionphoto-by-Sarah-WalkerFamily secrets are revealed in STARDUST + THE MISSION – a spellbinding two-part theatrical performance opening at Chapel Off Chapel from 17 February before a six-month national tour.

Featuring two powerful yet forgotten true stories from Australia’s past, audiences will meet two ordinary individuals, whose extraordinary lives still reverberate to this day.

STARDUST is the award-winning story of Col Brain, one of the best jazz musicians of his generation. Thirty years after Col Brain passed away in 1988, his grandson opened his prized wooden dresser which had been tucked away in a garage, discovering a hidden time capsule of his grandfather’s music and memories.

That grandson is the much-loved ABC presenter, musician and award-winning storymaker Joel Carnegie.

On creating this special one-man performance with dramaturg James Jackson, Carnegie said: “Col’s story has been sitting patiently in a locked wooden dresser for over 30 years, as a time capsule of treasured memories – it’s time for his story to finally be told,” he said.

“This show is a quest to uncover what Col wanted us to know about life through the things he left behind,” said Carnegie.

STARDUST delves into the story of Col Brain’s life, from humble beginnings as an orphan, to the bright lights and promises of Sydney’s Trocadero Club, with the story also featuring unforgettably lyrical original music by Australian trumpeter/composer, Nadje Noordhuis.

After interval, acclaimed Gunditjmara actor Tom Molyneux shares the story of Allan McDonald, his great, great uncle and ‘Fighting Gunditjmara’ man from South West Victoria in THE MISSION.

Uncle Allan was one of Australia’s first Aboriginal soldiers from Victoria to enlist for World War I. This captivating, rollicking, and at times confronting monologue traces the account of a soldier at war; at home and abroad.

THE MISSION was a labour of love as well as a truth-telling exercise for Molyneux and was created in collaboration with other Gunditjmara community members and dramaturg James Jackson. It also features striking original music by Nadje Noordhuis.

THE MISSION reflects Uncle Allan McDonald’s stories and struggles – from fighting for your Country at home, to fighting for your country abroad. These are the true stories of Australian history, warts and all,” said Molyneux.

Directed by Green Room Award-nominated director Daniel Lammin, STARDUST + THE MISSION will bring to life lingering memories and lessons from the past, as told by two Australian storytellers at the top of their game. This performance is part of their 2022 national tour to all corners of Australia.

Also drawing on Australia’s rich jazz and brass band traditions, a six-piece brass band will also perform live on stage across the two stories, with over 20 local bands performing in the show across Australia, over the course of the national tour.

STARDUST was originally commissioned as a radio documentary for ABC Radio National. It won Best Performance By An Actor (Joel Carnegie) and Best Innovation at the 2017 New York Festivals International Radio Awards.

The double bill STARDUST + THE MISSION toured Victoria in 2019 and this 2022 tour will mark the first Australian tour for the double bill.

The Space Company is an award-winning creative team making original theatre shows for touring across Australia and beyond… We create shows that make people think – offering a mirror to a changing world, as a challenger of the status quo. Our shows are grounded in place and community.

We explore the boundaries between fact and fiction, reality and digital, past, present, and future – and respectfully acknowledge that we live, work and create on Wadawurrung Country in Geelong.

Director: Daniel Lammin | Performers/Writers: Joel Carnegie and Tom Molyneux | Composers: Nadje Noordhuis and Joel Carnegie | Dramaturg: James Jackson | Lighting + Spatial Designer: Bronwyn Pringle | Sound Designer: Justin Gardam | Touring Production/Stage Manager: Clare Springett | Producer: Joel Carnegie

Chapel Off Chapel, Little Chapel Street, Prahran
Season: 17 – 26 February 2022

Following its Melbourne season, STARDUST + THE MISSION will be presented at over 35 other venues across Australia including: Lighthouse Theatre Warrnambool, Capitol Theatre Tamworth, Civic Theatre Newcastle, Riverside Theatres Parramatta, Tuggeranong Arts Centre ACT, Wagga Wagga Civic Theatre, and Theatre Royal Hobart. For more information and touring schedule, visit: for details.

Image: Joel Carnegie and Tom Molyneux feature in STARDUST + THE MISSION – photo by Sarah Walker