NED – A New Australian Musical
World Premiere Season
Bendigo, May 2015



It was confirmed today that an exciting new Australian musical, NED will play its World Premiere Season at Bendigo's new Ulumbarra Theatre for a strictly limited season from May 21 – 30. 

Based on the legend and history surrounding Australia's infamous Ned Kelly, the show has been in development since 2011 and will be produced by Groaning Dam Productions, with executive producer Capital Venues and Events.

Bendigo has built an international reputation as an incubator of performing arts, demonstrated through its support in the development of events such as the Bendigo Writers Festival and the Bendigo International Festival of Exploratory Music.

David Lloyd, Manager of Capital Venues and Events said, “The development of NED here in Bendigo gives the message that there is plenty of talent here in the regions and that we have an environment where people can pursue and realise their dreams.”

The World Premiere Season of NED will further build the city's reputation as an important arts destination, along with attractions such as the Bendigo Art Gallery, which continues to grow popularity as Australia’s largest and most impressive regional art museum. NED’s Premiere Season will coincide with the exhibition, Imagining Ned, the story of Ned Kelly.

Composer and lyricist of NED, Bendigo’s own, Adam Lyon (King Kong) added, “I think it’s a fantastic opportunity to tell a truly regional story, written and produced by regional people, having its World Premiere here in Bendigo for the opening of the new Ulumbarra Theatre which has been amazingly integrated into the old Sandhurst Gaol.”

Instantly recognisable, the Kelly armour barely hints at the astonishing series of events that came to pass in North East Victoria in the late 1800s, forever shaping our idea of Australian history.

NED tells the story of an ordinary boy, born to an Irish immigrant family living in poverty in country Victoria. The son of a convict, Ned sees how poorly his family is being treated and learns never to trust a man in uniform. He sees how the selectors are at the mercy of the squatters. And he knows how hard his mother works to keep his family together.

When his father dies Ned becomes the man of the house, at just 12 years old. His first arrest is at 14 and by 16 he is serving time in Pentridge Prison for receiving a stolen horse. His life is shaping up to be one full of petty misdemeanours, theft and scuffles with authority.

Ned’s life takes a catastrophic turn when his mother Ellen is accused of attempted murder of Fitzpatrick, a local police officer. Ned takes to the bush with his brother Dan, and friends Steve and Joe, with plans to avenge this injustice. The boys are pursued fervently by the police. When they finally come upon each other, three policemen are killed one fateful night at Stringybark Creek. Suddenly Ned has killed. Men. Police officers, no less. Yet rather than being condemned, his legend begins to grow.

NED shows us how this man was made – his family, his friends and the warmth, strength and courage of the women who helped to shape his life. It shows us why we should care about a criminal from a century long past. It shows us why we celebrate him. It allows us see ourselves in his struggle.

A stunning cast of actors and singers will be brought together to bring this World Premiere production to life, in co-operation with the Ulumbarra Theatre, Bendigo. With hauntingly beautiful melodies, raucous humour and a driving orchestral score that captures the sound of the Australian bush, NED will leave you humming while you ponder what it means to be Australian.

The experience of NED will commence as you enter the theatre with a walk underneath the gallows on the site of the former Sandhurst Gaol, Bendigo’s new Ulumbarra Theatre. Prison cells will be left as is or repurposed to form cloaking and ticketing functions in the entrance hall of this new state-of-the-art theatre, which boasts 1000 seats, a fly tower, and a dark history involving ghosts, sieges and notorious former residents.
The $26m Ulumbarra Theatre project has been funded with Australian, Victorian and local government sources, with additional funds raised within the local community and corporate sectors. 
The title Ulumbarra means gather together, or meeting place in the language of the Dja Dja Wurring people, and the theatre will be a venue for conferences and conventions, for local community groups, organisations and schools, as well as offer a program of performances from quality international acts and touring companies.

NEDA New Australian Musical will have music and lyrics by Adam Lyon, book by Anna Lyon and Marc McIntyre, direction by Gary Young, musical direction by Lochlan Mackenzie-Spencer and choreography by Michael Ralph.

Set design will be by Marc McIntyre with costumes by Emily Barrie and lighting design by Rob Sowinski.

Full casting details to be released shortly.

Further Ned Kelly events held by the City of Bendigo will soon be announced, making NED a must see for lovers of musical theatre, Australian history and fans of the Kelly Gang legend alike.

Video preview at the below links:

The World Premiere Season of NED – A New Australian Musical
Ulumbarra Theatre, Bendigo
May 21 – 30
Adult  $65
Concession  $59
Child  $30
Family 2+2   $178
Group 10+  $59
Tickets on sale now