The show places itself in Australia’s complex colonial past. In the midst of convict boats arriving each week from Britain, a different cargo leaves for Australia. On board are 287 single and free women. They have been promised good wages, good work and good marriage prospects in the new colony but to claim their new life they must first survive the voyage and then the colony.
This semi-staged ‘folksical’ sits somewhere between ballad opera and song cycle. The crystal clear song-writing incorporates both original and well-loved traditional folk tunes and showcases a fresh female perspective of an early Australian immigration story. The work is written by Helen Begley and based on the academic research of Dr Elizabeth Rushen.
Bibliography: Single and Free by Liz Rushen, Fair Game by Liz Rushen, The Merchant’s Women by Liz Rushen, Damned Whores and God’s Police by Anne Summers, Lifelines by Dale Spender and Patricia Clarke, Charles Dickens and the House of Fallen Women by Jenny Hartley, The Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes