Local students collaborate with professional Maltese artists to bring myths alive on stage
In a coup for Sydney’s Central City, Parramatta, Riverside Theatres and National Theatre of Parramatta have partnered with Maltese company, Soundscapes, to bring an exciting and unique project, Kirana: Myths of Creation, A Children’s Opera by Ruben Zahra, to life on Riverside’s stage. After successfully running overseas, this is the first time Kirana will be presented in Australia and in English. It is supported by the External Cultural Programme of the 2017 Maltese EU Presidency.
Inspired by the creation myths and legends from China, India, Babylon and Mesopotamia, this contemporary children’s opera allows local music and dance students to participate directly in the creative process by contributing to the shaping of the music, drama and digital animation through a series of workshops and art classes. As well as being supported in these workshops by three professional Maltese artists and a professional local actor, percussionist and visual artists, these children will have the unique opportunity to co-present the final piece on Riverside’s stage in April.
Conceived so it can be presented after just one week of rehearsals, the opera can be presented in any country with children of any nationality. This is possible as the narrative has been assigned to a storyteller – a professional actor from the country where the performance is taking place. The children animate each scene through movement, vocal improvisation and rhythm.
Featuring an expressive modern musical score composed for piano and percussion, the children complement this soundtrack by creating soundscapes with raw authentic materials. The sequence of improvised rhythmic patterns which they develop in the workshops represents the four elements – water, air, earth and fire.
The creator of Kirana, Ruben explained, “The children contribute directly to the shaping of the piece with their own rhythms, music and language. Kirana introduces children to a range of new artistic experiences from contemporary music to percussion workshops, stop motion animation and light painting. This project also combines contemporary expression with some of the most basic and primordial forms of art. On one hand, there is digital animation and contemporary music for piano and percussion and on the other there are rhythmic patterns on stone, trickling water and howling wind.”
To add another depth to this clever and innovative project, some of the scenes in this mythological journey are portrayed through digital animations. These will be projected onto an inflatable spherical screen that easily folds up and fits into the artists’ luggage.
Over the January School Holidays, Parramatta Artists’ Studios facilitated a series of art workshops which allowed children to develop and create a series of drawings and colleges for this purpose. In conjunction with this, a series of art workshops were held with the students of St Mary Primary School, Rydalmere in the first week of February. All of these artworks will be scanned and processed by the digital animator into a video to be projected during the show.
Extremely passionate about this special project, Ruben said, “The beauty of Kirana is that each production is unique because every group of children involved in this project is unique.” Don’t miss this Australian exclusive featuring young local talent as they create and perform with professional artists to produce a high-quality performance.
About the Show
Myths of Creations
A Children’s Opera by Ruben Zahra
Inspired by the creation of myths and legends from China, India, Babylon and Mesopotamia, the local dance and music students selected for this project will work with 3 professional Maltese artists and a professional local actor, a percussionist and visual artists, to produce a high-quality performance.
Featuring a score for piano and percussion performed live by two professional musicians, the students will complement the soundtrack with a sequence of improvisations conducted by the composer himself. This project will also feature stunning artwork by local students which will be transformed into digital animations that are projected throughout the performance.
Dates & Times:
Saturday 1 April at 2:15pm & 7:30pm