Mara! Big Band ‘Zashto?’

Venue Riverside Theatre
Dates 02 March 2022
Category Music

Riverside Theatres, Mara Music & SIMA present
World Premiere

Riverside welcomes the world premiere of Zashto? in March as part of SIMA’s Jazz Now Summer 22 Festival. The theme of the Mara! Big Band’s new 60-minute musical suite “Zashto?” (“Why?” in Bulgarian language) is the experience of migration to Australia and the spectre of incarceration (physical and psychological) that has hovered over each wave of migration in the past 230 years.

Through the stories of three women who arrived in Australia at very different times in our history, we investigate the fact that deprivation of liberty or trauma has scarred the migration experience of many in our community and we pose the question “Zashto?”

The ‘protagonists’ are a young female convict who was arrested in Ireland at the age of 16 and transported in 1803, a Bulgarian migrant and an Iranian refugee. The libretto is drawn from poetry and texts written by or about them in their native languages (Irish Gaelic, Bulgarian and Farsi) giving a window into their experiences of displacement, hope, longing, despair and resignation in their struggle to forge a new life in this ‘lucky country’.

The work was commissioned by Mara Kiek in 2020 with support from CreateNSW and features compositions by current and former members of the Mara! band – Sandy Evans, Paul Cutlan, Andrew Robson, Tony Gorman and Llew Kiek and scored for the 12-piece line-up of the new Mara! Big Band.

*Please contact Box Office directly for group bookings of 8 or more, email or call 02 8839 3399.

Riverside Theatres is a registered COVID Safe venue with the NSW Government. The health and safety of all Riverside patrons and staff is at the forefront of all our operations. Our policies are consistently reviewed and will be updated in line with NSW Health guidelines and advice. Please review our Conditions of Entry & Patron Safety page prior to attending Riverside Theatres for the most up-to-date information.

If you have any questions and would like to discuss this with a member of our team, please contact our Box Office staff on 02 8839 3399 or email

Thank you for keeping our community safe.


Mara! Big Band line-up:

Mara Kiek – Voice and percussion
Llew Kiek – Bouzouki, bağlama, acoustic and electric guitars
Sandy Evans – Soprano and tenor saxophones
Paul Cutlan – Clarinets and saxophones
Lloyd Swanton – Double bass
Andrew Robson – Alto and baritone saxophones
Sam Golding – Trumpet, tuba, woodwinds
James Greening – Pocket trumpet, trombone
Gary Daley – Piano accordion
Jess Ciampa – Drums and percussion
Jenny Dornan – Voice (soprano)
Jarnie Birmingham – Voice (alto)

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Dates and Times:

Wednesday 2 March 2022 at 7:30pm


2 hours including a 20 minute interval

Ticket Prices

$29 - 54
Concession $24 - 35
15 & Under $21 - 44
$39 - 59
Concession $35 - 45
15 & Under $29 - 50
Groups 8+* $44

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