Tivoli Poster

TIVOLI: the making of a Dance Musical

28 min documentary, produced and directed by Philippe Charluet. Broadcast: ABC TV (Australia)

This documentary follows the making of a Graeme Murphy’s dance musical which unites the creative resources of Australia’s two premiere dance companies, the Australian Ballet and the Sydney Dance Company. Through its process and with its creators and artists, we pay tribute to the rich heritage of the Tivoli Circuit – an era of variety theatre which helped shape Australia’s cultural identity, from the 1890’s until the last show in 1966…

Ironically television was responsible for killing off the Tivoli but this program brings it all back to life again complete with feathers, dancing girls, a 3 metre high set of legs, the Colossal Spartacus Brothers and even bare breasted ladies who, for many Australian men in those days, were their first brush with nudity.

There is an element of nostalgia to the production as actress Toni Lamond recalls her experiences and laments the loss of opportunity for today’s live variety acts. But any nostalgia and sadness is mixed with happiness when some of the original Tivoli dancers travel back to the rehearsal room to re-tell, and relive, their glory days with all the young dancers involved.

Graeme Murphy says, “We risked losing a whole genetic, theatrical link; a fact which became apparent when I discovered that all the current dancers had no knowledge at all of this great institution and the part that it plays in their own careers.

This production is a great insight into the creative efforts of the massive team of people involved in the creation of Tivoli. The costumes, the colour, the humour – it’s all there – and makes us wonder what we lost when the lights went down on ¨the Tiv¨ for ever.

Featured video: excerpts from the documentary

Videos Tab above: documentary of the initial full-day workshop when former Tivoli circuit’s performers met for the first time the dancers and creatives and musicians/ singers. This was filmed before Tivoli was created and integrated in the full documentary broadcast on the ABC.

See also Frank van Straten interview

  • Tivoli's original programme for 'Oriental Cavalcade'
  • Tivoli Poster
  • The cast of Tivoli (photo ©Branco Gaica)

Tivoli Credits

Choreography & Concept
Graeme Murphy AO

Creative Associate
Janet Vernon AM

Graeme Murphy
Kristian Fredrikson

Graeme Koehne

Set Design
Brian Thomson

Costume Design
Kristian Fredrikson

Lighting Design
Damien Cooper

Musical Supervisor
Max Lambert

Musical Director
Michael Tyack

Original Songs and Lyrics
Graeme Koehne
Max Lambert
Linda Nagle

Paul Chubb
Linda Nagle

Sound Design
Adam Iuston

Frank Van Straten

Rehearsal Directors
Brett Morgan (SDC)
Danilo Radojevic (AB)

The Dancers
Sydney Dance Company
Katherine Arnold-Lindley
Wakako Asano
Andrea Briody
Josef Brown
Tracey Carrodus
Bradley Chatfield
Chylie Cooper
Katherine Griffiths
Gavin Mitford
Carl Plaisted
Simone Sault
Christopher Sheriff
Matthew Shilling
Simon Turner
Xue-Jun Wang
Nobuo Fujino

The Australian Ballet
Adrian Burnett
Craig Cathcart
Rachel Dougherty
Lucinda Dunn
Madeleine Eastoe
Timothy Farrar
Kristie-Ann Ferguson
Joshua Horner
Danielle Hunt
Gennadi Koutchin
Sarah McCarthy
Sakis Michelis
Renee Moon
Felicia Palanca
Rachael Read
Katie Ripley
Leanne Stojmoenov
Simon Vaughan
Camilla Vergotis
Steven Woodgate

Guest Artists
Linda Nagle
Michael Cormick
Harry Haythorne
Tim Tyler

10-piece Tivoli Band
Michael Tyack - piano
Duncan Salton – piano & piano accordeon
Philip Rex – acoustic bass & tuba
John Barret – clarinet, alto sax, flute
Dean Cooper - drums
George Brodbeck – Tivoli Band arranger
Peter Mapleson – Tivoli Band copyist

The Orchestral Score
was recorded by the Australian Opera & Ballet Orchestra;
Acting Concertmaster Bogdan Bobocea
Conducted by Mark Summerbell

Special Thanks to
Leigh Small, Janine Kyle, Carli Ratcliff, Andris Toppe, Brett Davidson,
John Henderson, Angela Corben, John Shedden, Angela Embleton

Documentary Crew

Philippe Charluet
Joe Ghoukassian
Peter Neahros
Patrick O’Neil
Dario Salpietro

Graham Fettling
Paul Finlay
Simon Prior
Ro Woods

Tivoli Workshop Footage
Stella Motion Pictures Pty Ltd

Tivoli Archival Footage
ABC Archives
Sue Nicholas

Production Co-Ordinator
Roz Stock

Production Manager
Sanno Raymond

Philip Reid

Philippe Charluet

Executive Producer
Richard Moore