For the past 3 years I have been involved in the development of a musical play entitled ‘The Man They Call The Banjo’. The play was written by playwright and composer Felix Meagher and is based on the research of musician/ historian the late Dennis O’Keeffe. From his groundbreaking research Dennis published a book entitled ‘Waltzing Matilda; The Secret History of Australia’s Favourite Song’.
The play is based in Western Queensland during the infamous Shearers Strikes of the 1890s, and depicts the turmoil between the Squatters and the Shearers Union and also looks into the mystery surrounding the death of Samuel Hoffmeister, AKA the Jolly Swagman. There is also a very intriguing love triangle between Australia’s favourite Bush Poet Banjo Patterson, his then fiancee of 8 years Sarah Riley, and Christina Macpherson, the younger sister of Robert Macpherson, the Squatter of Dagworth Station. It was during Banjo and Sarahs visit to Dagworth in late 1894 that Banjo met Christina, a long time friend of Sarahs, and together wrote the words to Waltzing Matilda.
For several years the play has been performed as a scripted reading / musical narrative to sell out crowds in country halls and woolsheds all around Victoria, NSW and even at the North Gregory Hotel in Winton, QLD. With a cast of 8, including 5 actors, 2 musicians and a director ‘The Man They Call The Banjo’ is now a fully produced stage musical. Our most recent shows at Warrandyte and Port Fairy have been sold out and have received standing ovations and rave reviews. The plan is to tour the play over the coming years both locally and interstate, so if you think you know all there is to know about Waltzing Matilda, you’d better come along and see the show. You’ll be pleasantly surprised and highly entertained by the experience.
I’ll be posting future dates for The Man They Call The Banjo on my events page so please keep an eye out for a show near you. Alternatively if you’d like to book a show and have us come to your town, please let me know via my contact page.