Past Season


By Alice Oswald

Memorial by Alice Oswald | Brink Productions

“[Memorial]… contains a passion and majesty that is transporting, and transcendent.”
★★★★★ The Guardian (UK)

“a transcendent piece of theatre”
★★★★★ The Stage (UK)

‘Magnificent … transcendentally beautiful … unutterably moving’ 
★★★★ Limelight Magazine (Australia)

WORLD PREMIERE The Dunstan Playhouse, 1-6 March 2018

Memorial had its world premiere at the 2018 Adelaide Festival. In September 2018 it toured to rave reviews as the headline act of the Brisbane Festival, followed by an acclaimed season at one of the world’s leading cultural institutions in London, the Barbican Centre. Conceived, commissioned, developed, created and premiered from and in South Australia, this grand theatrical vision boasts acclaimed local, national and international artists gathered together in an innovative multi-artform collaboration incorporating momentous community engagement.

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body. This project has been assisted by the Australian Government’s Major Festivals Initiative in association with the Confederation of Australian International Arts Festivals Inc., Adelaide Festival, Brisbane Festival and Melbourne Festival. This project is supported by the Australian Government’s Anzac Centenary Arts and Culture Fund. This project is assisted by Arts SA – Independent Makers and Presenters – Major Commissions Fund. This project is co-commissioned by the Barbican and 1418 Now, WWI Centenary Art Commissions. Presented in association with Adelaide Festival Centre.


Chris Drummond + Yaron Lifschitz
Director Chris Drummond
Music Director Jonathan Peter Kenny
Musicians Zoe Barry, Louis Cann, Karen de Nardi, Quentin Grant, Jonathan Peter Kenny, Kelly McCusker, Laura Moody, Melanie Pappenheim, Siobhan Owen, Belinda Sykes + Tanja Tzarovska
Producer Lee-Anne Donnolley
Chorus Masters Christie Anderson and Carol Young
Composer Jocelyn Pook
Movement Yaron Lifschitz
Design Michael Hankin
Costumes Renate Henschke
Lighting Nigel Levings
Sound Jane Rossetto
Associate Director and Associate Movement Director Benjamin Knapton

Helen Morse
Tobiah Booth-Remmers, Lina Limosani and Larissa McGowan
Featuring Aurora and The Festival Statesmen

With members of La La Land, Tutti Choir + Poco Tutti, Choral Grief and the SOSA chorus and many individuals whose names appear in the season program.

★★★★★ ‘[Memorial]… contains a passion and majesty that is transporting, and transcendent.’  The Guardian (UK)

★★★★★ ‘Spoken word, lighting and music combine in perfect synergy to imbue the production with poignancy. Morse’s voice, Oswald’s words, Jocelyn Pook’s haunting musical compositions and the astonishing voices of the singers make for an exquisite study of grief.’   The Guardian (UK)

★★★★★ ‘a transcendent piece of theatre’  The Stage (UK)

★★★★★ ‘At the heart of this performance is the chronicler, the great Australian actor Helen Morse, who carries the narrative alone for nearly two hours. She’s a small, determined figure dressed in a patchwork burgundy velvet dress: her strong voice brims with anger and pity, then softens with love as she tells everyday stories of these men, be they humble shepherds or rich merchants, and the families they have left behind.’  The Stage (UK)

★★★★★ ‘Never has Homer’s Iliad seemed less like a dusty schoolbook text than in this searing ‘excavation’ by poet Alice Oswald, dramatized so effectively by Australian director Chris Drummond and Brink Productions.’  The Stage (UK)

‘Jocelyn Pook’s score is full of thrilling sonorities, sometimes ecclesiastically ritualistic it seems to draw on English folk-song, Cycladic dances, Pontic rhythms, tinkling bells, a richness of evocative sounds sometimes strange sometimes seeming very familiar. It is music you want to hear again, the players (who include Pook herself) make it memorable and Morse’s performance is a tour de force and the chorus, drawn from choirs across London, deliver a dedication and emotional concentration that hugely contributes to the success of this compelling stage work.’ The British Theatre Guide

★★★★ ‘With folk elements from Macedonia and Bulgaria adding distinctive local flavour, Pook’s score is richly atmospheric while evoking a timeless quality. In places there’s a clear debt to Philip-Glass-like minimalism, while in one touching sequence the entire company pairs off into couples for something rather more period-specific in the form of an old-fashioned waltz.’  Financial Times (UK)

★★★★ ‘Chris Drummond’s staging and Yaron Lifschitz’s movement maintain a simplicity that allows the heightened poetry of the material to speak for itself. Renate Henschke’s costumes generally convey present-day informality — except for one unforgettable moment around the evening’s midpoint when soldiers in first world war uniforms briefly infiltrate the ranks of the other performers before almost instantaneously vanishing.’ Financial Times (UK)

‘Memorial is a shattering excavation of the scars of war through poetry, dance and mind-blowing score’ The Conversation

‘The brilliance of Oswald’s writing lies in its combination of unrelenting singular focus with endless poetic invention’ The Conversation

‘Pook’s score is a golden stream of soft, devastating sadness: the sinuous reediness of oboe, shawm and clarinet; the pong and chime of bells; the wail and keen of counter tenor and Bulgarian and Macedonian vocals. The musicians are suspended on an illuminated bridge above the stage, like demi-gods. At its most climactic, Memorial’s music is almost literally mind-blowing.’ The Conversation

‘In bringing this piece into existence, director Chris Drummond shows two things. First, that his ability to handle the outsize tools of epic performance, previously on show in Night Letters and When the Rain Stops Falling, is now approaching the definitive. Second, that his interest in the human condition, in vulnerability, in drama, remains squarely at the centre of his vision.’ The Conversation

‘Helen Morse is magnificent. Drummond has astutely recognized the dramatic strength of the poet’s text and found an outstanding actor to deliver it. Morse is pitch-perfect. Droll, laconic, fierce, never sentimental, she effortlessly inhabits this lithe, earthy poetry, giving each line clarity, each name its sombre due. Dressed in a rough-spun mulberry red patchwork shift, she is diminutive in contrast to the chorus but compelling as the narrator, aghast at what she describes, but unflinching witness to this bright unbearable reality.’ The Australian

‘Memorial is a deeply moving piece of theatre with a sublime score… the cumulative effect of the list of dying warriors is a powerful statement about the tragic waste of life. The ending, as all the performers sing “thousands of leaves” over and over in soaring harmonies (having compared thousands of leaves to thousands of bodies) is unutterably moving and tears slid down faces all over the auditorium.’ Limelight Magazine

‘What is being worshipped in this extraordinary stage adaptation of the poem is life itself. Stage Noise

‘There aren’t enough superlatives with which to crown this Adelaide Festival production. It creates for its audience one of those lifetime experiences, all at once beautiful, transcending, sensual, original and relevant.’Barefoot Review

‘Cleverly choreographed by Yaron Lifschitz, artistic director of Queensland’s Circa, the chorus is an almost continual presence on the stage, variously representing humanity and changing landscapes as the poem move through space and time.’ Indaily

‘Set high above the stage where you imagine the gods would sit, a row of musicians and singers give life to an absolutely exquisite aural landscape, composed by multi-awarding composer Jocelyn Pook.’ Indaily

‘The three key elements – Pook’s score, the huge human chorus and Oswald’s powerful imagery given voice by Morse – combine to create an insightful and intense requiem to all those whose lives have been affected by the immeasurable tragedy and senselessness of war.’ Indaily

1 - 6 March 2018

Dunstan Playhouse
Adelaide Festival Centre

3 - 9 September 2018

Brisbane Festival
Queensland Performing Arts Centre

27 - 30 September 2018

The Barbican Centre

We acknowledge that the land on which we live, and work is the  traditional land of the Kaurna people and pay our respects to their  Elders - past, present and future. Brink supports the Uluru Statement from the Heart and enshrining a Voice to Parliament in the Constitution. 

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