There was a time when the Tivoli Circuit reigned supreme. This was the home of variety theatre and vaudeville – where dancers, acrobats, comedians and ventriloquists trod the boards and where unclad beauties stood immobile. From the 1890s until the last show in 1966, Tivoli theatres around Australia vibrated with theatrical magic.
In commemoration of Australia’s Centenary of Federation in 2001, The Sydney Dance Company and The Australian Ballet joined forces for the first time to present an unforgettable celebration of the Tivoli Circuit. TIVOLI is Graeme Murphy’s homage to this extraordinary period of variety theatre. Featuring 35 dancers from two of Australia’s most celebrated companies, guest artists and singers and a 10-piece band, Tivoli is a large-scale production which toured nationally in 2001 and, due to the overwhelming audience response, Sydney Dance Company presented a return season in 2003 at the Capitol Theatre in Sydney.
Interweaving backstage scenes with onstage acts, Graeme Murphy’s TIVOLI captures the essence of ‘a night at the Tiv’ whilst also telling the story of the era. The story opens in 1906, when the main character, a starry-eyed Jack, lands a job as a stagehand. This marks the beginning of a life-long love affair with the theatre, and we watch as he works his way to the top in the midst of great change – two World Wars, the roaring 20s and the depression years, the topless follies of the 50s and finally the disastrous advent of television. Drawing upon authentic music and authentic acts from Tivoli productions, TIVOLI reveals the humour, glamour and magic of the era to a whole new generation.
TIVOLI received four Australian Dance Awards, for outstanding achievement in choreography – won by Graeme Murphy, outstanding performance by a company, outstanding performance by an individual – won by guest artist Harry Haythorne, and outstanding performance in a stage musical – won by Tracey Carrodus.
The stage performance was filmed a number of times in Melbourne and Sydney and has now been edited in full, 176 min of it!
The making of this musical was also filmed as a documentary.
Featured video: 13 min Promo
Videos tab above:
Excerpt from Swan Silver (6 min)
Celebrating the late Harry Haythorne
TIVOLI (2001 season credits)
Choreography & Concept
Graeme Murphy AO
Janet Vernon AM
Original Songs and Lyrics
Frank Van Straten
Brett Morgan (SDC)
Danilo Radojevic (AB)
Sydney Dance Company
The Australian Ballet
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
Producer/ Director/ Editor