Blackbird Ensemble’s brand new show DREAMS opens April 14


Blackbird Ensemble are heading to bed… And you’re invited. Wear your finest pyjamas, throw on your slippers, and head to DREAMS at the Basement this April.

‘DREAMS’ is the newest creation from Blackbird Ensemble who have become known for their elaborate and powerful musical concert experiences.

Starring 9 versatile multi-instrumentalists, this miniature orchestra presents an eclectic mix of music by artists such as Stravinsky, Piazolla, The Smiths, Calexico, Fleetfoxes and Radiohead. Blackbird Ensemble’s set list adopts its usual disregard for genre, binding its concert together with thematic links; this time, music inspired by dreamstates, nightmares, lullabies and the rituals of the bedroom.

‘Blackbird Ensemble morphs into a smaller ensemble than their last 3 productions (The Night Sky, The Wilderness, By The Sea) to present ‘DREAMS’ in The Basement Theatre. For the first time, the ensemble merges concert music with physical theatre and characterisation.

The production is directed by award winning theatrical visionary Renee Lyons. Chapman Tripp award winning Renee Lyons was selected to tour NZ, Melbourne and Edingburgh Fringe Festivals with her remarkable solo play ‘Nick: an accidental hero’. Her recent screen credits include the lead role in feature film ‘The Great Maidens Blush’ and a role in the TV series ‘800 words.’  Her recent directing work includes ‘Dinner with the Devil’ and ‘The Memory Shelf.

Musical direction is by Blackbird’s creative director Claire Cowan.

Cowan’s passion is to challenge classical music performance etiquette, removing boundaries between audience, orchestra, and musical genre divisions. In March she will be touring Australia with ‘Live Live Cinema: Carnival of Souls’ and in 2015 is Composer in residence with Orchestra Wellington, writing a brand new Violin concerto for young virtuoso Amalia Hall (The Wilderness).

Set design is by Daniel Williams. Daniel’s theatre career has seen him design sets and costumes for work all over New Zealand and Internationally. He recently won The 2013 Q Theatre, Auckland Newcomer Award and has been nominated multi times at the Chapmann Tripp theatre awards including winning Weta Workshop set designer of the year for ‘The Little Dog Laughed’.  Most recently Daniel designed the immersive theatrical event “Generation Z’ at the Edinburgh International Fringe Festival. He is Currently working on directing ‘Night of the Queer’ for Auckland Pride, Silo’s next production ‘8 Gigabytes of Hardcore Pornography’ and was the concept design behind Britomart Cricket Club’s fan club activation.

“It’s a rare opportunity that I get to work with musicians and singers of this calibre. I’m beyond excited about what is already an inspiring and special collaboration with Claire and the Blackbird Ensemble. The audience will be swept into a world of sensory delight. It’s going to be magic!”  – Director Renee Lyons

“DREAMS is about getting the audience closer than ever before; both physically and emotionally. It’s also a playful theme and setting to explore music that has sprung from composer’s subconscious thoughts and desires. It’s an endlessly fascinating subject – I often have my best ideas whilst just waking up, before my fully conscious mind has switched into its logical and judgmental state.”

– Musical Director Claire Cowan

DREAMS is performed by

Claire Cowan CELLO/KEYS (Blackbird Ensemble founder/director)

Jessie Cassin VOCALS (Motorcity Family Funk)

Mikey Brown VOCALS (Outside In)

Tom Broome PERCUSSION (Hollie Smith, Sorceress)

Sam Taylor GUITAR (Lisa Crawley, Sam Taylor Duo)

Eric Scholes BASS (APO, ACO, Rocking Rollercoasters)

Charmian Keay VIOLIN (APO, Korutet)

Kevin Keys TROMBONE (Soul Samba Circus)

Callum Passells SAXOPHONES (The Babyshakes)