Ping pong meets puppetry at Birmingham 2022 Festival

First Nations musician DENNI and puppet company Terrapin have created a new take on a national anthem.

What would it sound like if you had a chance to rewrite Australia’s national anthem? That was the monumental task presented to lutrawita-based (Tasmanian) hip hop artist DENNI, aka Denni Proctor, whose first response to the brief was, ‘As a songwriter, I was like, “Oh, there’s almost too much to write about.” What’s our premise? And how can we get to the nub of it?’

DENNI was tapped for the job by Sam Routledge, Artistic Director of Hobart’s celebrated puppet company Terrapin, who asked her to compose this alternative take as part of the company’s latest work, Anthem Anthem Revolution. Terrapin are touring the production to the UK’s Birmingham 2022 Festival later this month – the company’s first international tour since the pandemic began – as part of the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

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Stephen A Russell is a Melbourne-based arts writer. His writing regularly appears in Fairfax publications, SBS online, Flicks, Time Out, The Saturday Paper, The Big Issue and Metro magazine. You can hear him on Joy FM.