“When you pick up your program, make sure you put a big circle around a performance of The Good Girl: A Song Project. we were delighted by it at Maldon. Helen’s songs are gritty, evocative and pull no punches. Jamie and Penelope contribute beautifully to the music on concertina and whistle and Penny and Penelope breathe life and warmth into the characters. – Jane Harding, audience member
Songwriter and musician, Helen Begley and actor and singer, Penny Larkins established “The Good Girl Song Project” to produce original song cycles with theatrical elements and accompanying workshops that explore Australian women’s history. The Project’s main objectives are to raise awareness of women’s stories and to invite audiences and workshop participants to reflect on women’s place in their personal and community histories.
The project uses a cast of folk musicians at the top of their game. The current line-up features Penny Larkins, vocals and acting, Helen Begley, guitars, songwriter and vocals, Penelope Swales, whistles, vocals and acting, Jamie Molloy, concertina and acting. At various times, they have also been joined by Carmen Obrien, fiddle, Sally Taylor, fiddle and Mick Gribben, bohdran and vocals.
The Good Girl Song Project are currently readying their new work for the Spring/Summer festival season and 2020 Theatre season. The work is Part 2 of “Voyage” and takes up the story of the free immigrant women upon landing in the Australian colonies in the mid-1830’s. It follows them as they navigate loneliness, disconnection and homesickness and an unsupportive colony which finds their presence, at best an inconvenience and, at worst, a threat.
The first musical work, “Voyage”, regularly receives standing ovations at festivals around Australia. This powerful work is based on the research of historian and genealogist, Dr Liz Rushen. It follows the Voyage of over two hundred single and free emigrant women to Sydney from England in 1833. The show uses a song cycle and verbatim script to explore the process of emigration; the effects of leaving homelands for good, the hopes and dreams of the new immigrants, the experience of a long sea journey and the attitudes of those awaiting them in Sydney. A CD, “Voyage” is also available.