THE FINAL HOURS

Art work by John Fry, Six Heads, Melbourne

This suite of 5 songs evolved from an invitation by the Tuggeranong Arts Centre in Canberra, Australia, to spend a day surrounded by the visual art of Myuran Sukumaran, an Australian man executed by the Indonesian Government after being found guilty of smuggling heroin.

A collaboration with singer-songwriter Pete Lyon; after mixing by Kimmo Vennonen, the songs were released on 15 June 2019 through Bandcamp. All proceeds to be donated to an Australian art-in-prison program.

WE ARE FREEOM

A collaboration with Andrew Bull / Hyperconfidence. After mixing by Darren Ziesing, the song was released in February 2019 through CD Baby.

YES OF LOVE

A collaboration with composer James Humberstone, this song was written in the context of Australia’s final debate on marriage equality laws; after mixing by Jordan Thomas Mitchell, the song was released in October 2018 through Youtube.

THE WEIGHT OF LIGHT

‘Falling Man’ art work by Katy Mutton

Having completed his latest tour of Afghanistan, an Australian soldier is on leave and taking the opportunity to return to his family’s farm in regional New South Wales – he is looking forward to resting. However, as he makes his way home he is confronted by news that is both life-affirming and devastating, which pushes him to reveal a dark secret that clings like a ghost. Ultimately he must question everything he knows. What sort of man is he? What does it meant to be brave? And what future might be waiting for his family.

THE WEIGHT OF LIGHT is an original, full-length song cycle that was commissioned by the Goulburn Regional Conservatorium; the music was composed by James Humberstone of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. The work was developed by The Street Theatre in Canberra and had its world premiere in Canberra on 3 March 2018; also performed in Goulburn and Sydney.

Watch a 10-minute video of the creative development workshop held at the Sydney Conservatorium in late 2017.

Listen to the music here.

REVIEWS

THE WEIGHT OF LIGHT is a gem of a piece, combining the performance rhythms of a song cycle with the force of theatre. Much of its power comes from the delicate way the combination of Nigel Featherstone’s spare text and James Humberstone’s dark and carefully mournful music touches on issues of masculinity and trauma. Michael Lampard finds even the smallest scrap of light and uses it to the advantage of the performance. THE WEIGHT OF LIGHT will certainly have a life beyond the two Canberra performances’ – The Canberra Times 

‘Spellbinding, spine-tingling, heartbreaking and gloriously uplifting. Extraordinary performances by operatic baritone Michael Lampard and pianist Alan Hicks. This was a stunningly moving, beautiful, haunting and inventive production from the very first breath to the last’ – award-winning poet Anne Casey

THE WEIGHT OF LIGHT is a richly crafted production with universal themes of grief, despair, hope and fear’ – Australian Stage

‘An enthralling visual and aural experience’ – Australian Arts Review

‘Seamless, exquisite, mesmeric poetry of text, music, drama and the conversation of light and shadow on a spare, evocative set that had me ‘falling / in my (own) chest / my guts / my legs / my head’, but then carried me as I fell, lifted me until I became the weight of light’ – award-winning poet, performer and novelist Merlinda Bobis

‘THE WEIGHT OF LIGHT fearlessly takes on some big issues. Featherstone’s libretto impressively balances narrative and contemplation’ – ArtsHub

‘A beautiful show. The whole package – words, music, performance, set and lighting. Highly moving – Whispering Gums

‘A truly stunning piece of work. Bravo’ – Sydney Voice Project

‘Composer James Humberstone, librettist Nigel Featherstone, director Caroline Stacey, baritone Michael Lampard and pianist Alan Hicks have put together a dark and spellbinding tale of a soldier who has returned from his latest tour of Afghanistan. As they move through the songs, a sense of a person lost and wondering emanates through the music, the lyrics, and the strongly effective staging and lighting, all in a well thought-out story that is touching and dramatic in every aspect. What this song cycle shows is that if there is anything good to come out of war, it is the beauty of creations such as THE WEIGHT OF LIGHT’ – Canberra City News

‘Daringly avant-garde. Intrigue throughout’ – Yolk