Danielle Dwyer as Mary and Ben Mackenzie as Edgar in The Ballad of Edgar and Mary.
Danielle Dwyer as Mary and Ben Mackenzie as Edgar in The Ballad of Edgar and Mary.

A sad song of loss for Edgar and Mary

THE Ballad of Edgar and Mary is the next production by the Drill Hall Theatre Company.

The show was commissioned and produced to open the centenary season at the Mullumbimby Drill Hall.

In this show, Edgar and Mary Stephens married in 1914 and lived at Left Bank Rd, Mullumbimby.

In 1916, the Drill Hall was built for military training with timber from Hollingworth's saw mill, where Edgar works before enlisting. While Edgar serves in France, Mary dreams of a life in Paris as a chanteuse.

Instead, she joins a travelling enlistment show with a blind soldier poet, a veteran of Gallipoli, as the main attraction.

The final show is at the Drill Hall and the mysterious singer who narrates the entertainment in song is supported by L'Orchestre du Music Hall.

The Ballad of Edgar and Mary is a musical theatre show commissioned by the Drill Hall Theatre Company, with assistance from the Federal Government's Anzac Centenary Grant Program.

The show was co-written and directed by Claude Gonzalez, twice nominated for an Australian Film Institute Award and an IF Award, and Gregory Aitken an actor and producer who has enjoyed 22 years of theatre work on the Northern Rivers.

Mr Aitken said the piece was a work of fiction.

"By making it a fiction story we had free rein to take the characters in any way we wanted to," he said. "It's not a true story but it was influenced by our reading of letters between local soldiers and their families."

Mr Aitken said the piece was not political, but conceded that it contained a small degree of commentary about war.

"I think it's impossible to write a piece about World War I and not to have a political point of view," he said.

"It speaks for itself that millions of people were slaughtered and the repercussions of that are still going on today. The songs used in the piece are all from the era, offering a rare insight into the musical background of the war time.

"For some reason, that era was very strong creatively. Every song in the show was composed between 1914 and 1919."

At the Drill Hall, 2 Jubilee Ave, Mullumbimby, from tomorrow until October 25. For bookings visit drillhalltheatre.org.au



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