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Ten Tonne Sparrow

MERRIGONGX 2020 Artist Profile

About

Ten Tonne Sparrow is a performance company creating work that uses storytelling, pop-sociology, pop-science and history to talk about the stories we tell about ourselves. Their new work is a tragic comedy rock opera by writers and musicians, Tom Hogan and Elana Stone. A musical about Burke & Wills seems a little … on the nose, and is an ambitious undertaking for two, middle class, white, musicians. Most of us know some part of their story, and saying it’s a musical certainly conjures up a particular type of show. But it’s a story that needs to be told.

Artist Statement

A musical about Burke & Wills seems a little… on the nose, and is an ambitious undertaking for two, middle class, white, musicians. Most of us know some part of their story, and saying it’s a musical certainly conjures up a particular type of show. But it’s a story that needs to be told.

It’s a musical that’s not just about some financially well-endowed white men walking into the desert with a bathtub dreaming of everlasting historical relevance; Mount Hopeless is about colonisation, the effects of ignoring the wisdom of the traditional owners of this country, and the repercussions of enforcing your will upon the environment. These themes are front-page issues on our newspapers today as our country burns. It’s important that we examine our own lives and look at what not to do; Burke & Wills provide us with a list of hilarious examples of exactly how to royally f**k up when navigating this country – with profoundly serious consequences.

The real trick is that it’s a comedy. The expedition tends to be depicted as ‘unlucky’ … but really, it’s ridiculous. And we need to start learning how to tell these stories. At the very least, we can stop calling Burke & Wills “explorers”.

… And it’s not that kind of musical.

Elana Stone and Tom Hogan

Coming Up…