The Marrickville Mermaid – Work in Progress Showing

Date 25 August 2022
Time 3:00pm (GMT)
Location Stapleford Granary, Cambridge
Date: 25.08.2022 Time: 3:00pm (GMT)

The Marrickville Mermaid
Presented by Luke Styles and Hilary Bell

As part of the UK/Australia Season 21-22 Luke Styles and Hilary Bell will be presenting a work-in-progress showing of their new work, Marrickville Mermaid, at Stapleford Granary UK.

International film star, queen of vaudeville, champion swimmer, pioneering health & fitness guru, trail-blazing entrepreneur, female action hero, Hollywood’s highest-earning actor…

Annette Kellerman (1887-1975) was an expert manipulator of the media and creator of her own mythology. She caused sensation from her home in Sydney to the world stage, yet she has been virtually erased from history. Marrickville Mermaid restores her to her rightful place via a highly original work of music theatre. It is a vehicle for a star performer whose range runs from cabaret to classical.

The work will be comprised of twelve songs that draw on the traditions of Brecht/Weill (The Threepenny Opera), Stravinsky (Soldier’s Tale), Schoenberg (Pierrot Lunaire) and the music hall traditions of which Kellerman was a part, transformed into Luke’s compositional voice. It will be composed to work equally well for piano and voice, as for a more fully orchestrated version for six instruments, chamber or full symphony orchestra, to fit the performing context.

Rather than a biography, the work will dive into the remarkable moments of Kellerman’s life, while also reflecting on the complexities of her inner world, and the tensions inherent in being a woman who defied every kind of expectation. Theatrically, it will harness the song cycle form with the rich physical and visual potential of her various lives – vaudeville, underwater ballet, silent film, athletics. The show is a playground in which to explore such contemporary themes as gender identity, constructed exoticism, loss and aging, and the manipulation of the media.

The work-in-progress event will include performances of 4 songs from the work by Jessica Walker and Joe Atkins and a presentation by Luke and Hilary about Annette Kellerman and the development of Marrickville Mermaid.

BOOKING – this will be an exclusive event with limited tickets. Email to reserve a free place at this event.

About the Artists

  • Hilary Bell’s plays have been produced nationally and internationally by a host of organisations from the Sydney Theatre Company, Black Swan and the Sydney Opera House to in the US by Atlantic and Steppenwolf and in the UK by the National Theatre.

    She writes libretti for opera and musicals, and lyrics for song cycles, and was recently commissioned by City Recital Hall to write new verses for Saint-Saën’s ‘Carnival of the Animals’. She has written audio-scripts for the Museum of Contemporary Art and NSW State Library.

    The recipient of awards including the Philip Parsons, a Helpmann and two AWGIES, Hilary is co-creator of several picture books, including ‘Numerical Street’, ‘Summer Time’ and bestseller ‘Alphabetical Sydney’ with Antonia Pesenti. She is a member of 7-On Playwrights and a graduate of the Juilliard Playwrights’ Program, NIDA and AFTRS. She was the Tennessee Williams Fellow 2003-04 and the 2012 Patrick White Playwrights’ Fellow at the STC.

    Luke Styles is an Australian British composer performed regularly throughout the world. Luke was the first Glyndebourne Young Composer in Residence, the first composer in residence at the Foundling Museum since Handel and he has recently been appointed the British Council Musician in Residence to Brazil. Luke’s operas have been performed on the famous Glyndebourne main stage, and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden by the London Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of conductors such as Vladimir Jurowski.

    Luke’s first Australian opera Ned Kelly premiered to critical acclaim at the 2019 Perth Festival and his latest opera Awakening Shadow premiered in 2021 at the Cheltenham Music Festival, Presteigne Festival and will receive a second production by Sydney Chamber Opera in 2022. Luke’s recent symphonic song cycle No Friend But The Mountains premiered at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne in March 2021 and has been turned into a 2-part ABC TV documentary. His 2018 cycle On Bunyah, for Mark Padmore and the Britten Sinfonia premiered at the Wigmore Hall, London followed by a UK tour and performances in Australia, where it was described as “Styles’s On Bunyah is magnificent and just like the poem is raw, not polite.” – The Australian.

    Luke is currently working on a Saxophone Concerto for orchestras in the UK, France and Australia. In 2022 Luke will compose two major vocal works, an Oratorio for the Three Choirs Festival, Philharmonia Orchestra and soloist Hilary Summers, and a song cycle for the French ensemble Le Balcon for premiere in Paris and at the Lille Opera.

    Luke is published by G.Schirmer/Wise Music Group and represented by Linda Marks.

  • Project Credits
    Composer, Luke Styles
    Writer, Hilary Bell

    Creative Credits
    Composer, Luke Styles
    Writer, Hilary Bell
    Singer, Jessica Walker