Bangarra Dance Theatre

CELEBRATING THE LIFE OF ROY DAVID PAGE, A PROUD NUNUKUL MUNALDJALI MAN

Public ceremony to honour one of Australia’s most talented
creative artists to be held in Brisbane

The Page Family would like to invite you to attend this ceremony. The incredible legacy of Roy David Page will be celebrated in a public ceremony at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre’s Concert Hall in his hometown of Brisbane on Monday 9 May at 11am.

We have lost one of our most senior cultural leaders. David was a son, brother, uncle and cousin to the Nunukul and Munaldjali clans. He was also a foundation member of Bangarra Dance Theatre alongside his brothers Stephen and Russell.

The Page family and Bangarra will honour David’s life through film, images and song in a ceremony for family, friends, community and colleagues.

David was the musical heartbeat of Bangarra, composing scores for 27 of the company’s 35 major works. He invented a pioneering modern soundtrack that embodied traditional language, song and instrumentation with the sounds of electronica, hip-hop, classical and nature, defining the Bangarra sound that would fill the theatre and leave audiences reverberating with hauntingly beautiful melodies. David had an innate talent for giving voice to Country and to land that could awaken emotions from deep within.

Yet his legacy at Bangarra is just one fragment of a rich tapestry of art he wove across multiple forms. David’s early fame arose from his backyard performances with his family as the eighth of twelve siblings growing up in Mt Gravatt in Brisbane. This led to his teenage singing career as Little Davey Page, where he became the first Australian to be signed to the famous Motown label, Atlantic Records.

This period of his life was then translated into a highly successful one-man show, Page 8, which he starred in to great acclaim both here and internationally. Page 8 was directed by Stephen in one of their many collaborations. His musical gifts were fostered studying saxophone, voice, composition and song at the Centre for Aboriginal Studies in Music (CASM), located within the Elder Conservatorium of Music at Adelaide University. This classical training gave David the foundation for composing and traditional song connections.

In 2000, David contributed music to the Opening Ceremonies of the Sydney Olympic Games, and he was a prolific contributor to numerous scores for television, film and theatre. Among his film score credits were 2006’s Kanyini, 2007’s Hush, 2009’s Jacob and 2015’s Spear.

He was also a talented actor, with his first leading role in Queensland Theatre Company’s The Sunshine Club in 1999. He also performed in Belvoir’s Yibiyung in 2008 and 2009’s The Man from Mukinupin, Sydney Theatre Company’s Bloodland in 2012, Queensland Theatre Company’s Mother Courage in 2013 and Black Diggers in 2014 as well as Country Song at QPAC in 2015. His film acting roles included playing Kenny in Warwick Thornton’s short film Green Bush in 2005 and a hilarious turn as drag queen Regina in Richard Frankland’s 2009 comedy Stone Bros.

Among his many award wins and nominations, David was the recipient of two Helpmann Awards for Best Original Score (Mathinna 2008 and Belong 2011, the latter with Steve Francis), a Green Room Award for acting in Page 8, four Deadly Awards for sound and an ARIA nomination.

The Page family have been touched by the outpouring of support from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Australian arts communities in the past few days. They encourage people who are in Brisbane, and those who can travel to Brisbane, to celebrate David’s life with them on Monday 9 May.

QPAC’s Concert Hall has the capacity to hold 1,500 people, but if capacity is reached, the ceremony will be able to be viewed and heard to the general public in foyers.

David will be buried in a private family ceremony directly afterwards.

The Page family will consider appropriate celebrations of David’s life in Sydney over the coming months. All performances of Bangarra’s upcoming program OUR land people stories will be dedicated to David.

Read David Page’s biography

Praise for David’s work

“So perfectly does it work to illuminate every nuance of the dancers that it’s impossible to separate it from the choreography”
Australian Stage Online on Ochres 2015

“The score for this piece by the highly respected David Page was magnificent. It left spaces on the stage as well as filled them”
Australian Stage Online on Sheoak, lore 2015

“Page’s brother David has marshaled an extraordinarily multifaceted score that synthesizes traditional and contemporary music into an evocative and celebratory soundscape”
Variety US on Spear, 2015

“David Page’s melodic, computerised synthesis of classical and indigenous instruments, with the soaring chanting of local language, has defined and driven Bangarra’s signature”
The Daily Review on Patyegarang, 2014

“Seasoned performers David Page and Luke Carroll steer the confident performances of a cast of emerging talents”
The Guardian on Black Diggers, 2014

“The final monologue offered by David Page offers a gripping and ceremonial image”
Limelight on Black Diggers, 2014

“The Page brothers, it seems, are aptly named. With every work, they seem to turn over a new leaf, revealing something we haven’t seen before.”
Crikey on Blak, 2013

“Music by David Page and Paul Mac is evocative, combining use of extended pieces of spoken and sung text and at other times creating a kind of techno-tribal soundscape”
Dance Australia on Blak, 2013

“David Page’s music, clean and enveloping, seems to dance around Rings’s choreography. They take turns at leading one another.”
The Australian on Terrain, 2012

“David Page’s compositions; always so listenable and nourishing in their own right.”
Crikey on Waramuk – in the dark night, 2012

“David Page, who imbues the dance with a sense of wonder, of earth & sky takes us into the clouds and back down again, showing us the world through eyes we might forget to use: the ones that see the natural world, the one we came from”
Aussie Theatre on of earth & sky, 2010

“David Page’s lip-synching transvestite Cousin Reggie is hilarious”
Urban Cinefile on Stone Bros, 2009

“A beautifully crafted and wonderfully performed piece of autobiographical theatre … David Page is extraordinary”
The Sydney Morning Herald on Page 8, 2004

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  • Andrew Karpenko

    So very sad to hear this. My condolences to the Page family. He will be missed and will be in my prayers.

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