The Dirty Red Digger – NSW/ACT Tour

26 June – 5 July

Music, Film, Football and Aussie History during The Great War

Scroll down to book tickets now

The Griffyn Ensemble, “Canberra’s premier chamber ensemble” (CityNews), are bringing their latest groundbreaking multi-media show The Dirty Red Digger to regional New South Wales in June 2015.  The Griffyns offer up a unique perspective on the First World War, by combining such unlikely bedfellows as music, football, history and social politics. The Dirty Red Digger is a potent and cohesive narrative told through music, spoken text and film that highlights the social pressures and challenges that faced Australians both then and now.

At the core of the show is a well-researched and richly illustrated history of rugby league – the ‘game of the people’ that has carried its devotees through dark times and golden eras. Insightful archival film and images of the war era (from the National Film and Sound Archive, British Film Institute and the National Library of Australia), are presented alongside recent interviews, to compare the camaraderie of the young Australian men a century ago with the team spirit, instincts and loyalties of young men who play for the Gungahlin Bulls Rugby League Club today. The show explores the conscription debate, the opposing ethical positions of organised sport during wartime, depression in returned soldiers and young rugby league players today, cultural icon Les Darcy, and the role and importance of music as propaganda, social commentary, and in uniting people.

The Griffyn Ensemble’s artistic director, composer and mandolinist Michael Sollis, is also passionate about footy and has played first grade with the Gungahlin Bulls since he was 16. Team Griffyn are all highly regarded and accomplished musicians and features the vocal talents of soprano Susan Ellis, double bassist Holly Downes, harpist Laura Tanata, violinist Chris Stone, and flautist Kiri Sollis. Their theatrical, accessible and audacious approach to contemporary music has excited audiences since 2005, earning them a loyal following in Canberra. The Dirty Red Digger is their most ambitious project to date and premiered on ANZAC Day 2015 in Canberra. The show has received critical praise and glowing reviews, and has also been toured extensively as part of Musica Viva in Schools education program.

“‘The Dirty Red Digger’ marks the coming of age for the Griffyns…Sollis is writing about instincts and loyalties that he embodies as a member of the Gungahlin Bulls and as a musician. The combination creates a potent and cohesive narrative.”

Jennifer Gall, Canberra Times

“Even more audacious than usual, Sollis managed to create a thoughtful show that married the story of the Glebe Rugby League football team (the Dirty Reds) with that of the ANZACS in World War 1, framed by interviews with young rugby league footballers today. He – and his “team” of engaged and talented performers – had the audience glued to its seats.” 

Whispering Gums

To book tickets online, click on the links below. For local sales (cash or card) scroll down (not all venues have local sales)

Newcastle Panthers Club Friday 26th June 7:30pm – Online Sales

Armidale Town Hall Saturday 27th June 7:30pm – Online Sales

Gunnedah Civic Theatre Sunday 28th June 7:30pm – Online Sales
Or in person at Gunnedah Conservatorium, 90 Barber Street Gunnedah

Dubbo RSL Club Monday 29th June 7:30pm – Online Sales
Or in person at Macquarie Conservatorium, Bultje Street Dubbo (booking form here)

Temora The Supper Room, Town Hall Tuesday 30th June 7:30pm – Online Sales
Or in person at Temora Shire Council

Wagga Commercial Club Wednesday 1st July 7:30pm – Online Sales
Or in person at the Commercial Club Wagga

Cooma Ex-Services Club Thursday 2nd July Cooma 7:30pm – Online Sales
Or in person at  Cooma School of Music, Sharp Street, Cooma

Bermagui Windsong Pavillion Friday 3rd July 7:30pm – Online Sales
Or in person at Four Winds, Bermagui Community Centre Mon-Thu

Sydney Glebe Town Hall Saturday 4th July  7:30pm – Online Sales

Canberra Raiders Belconnen Club Sunday 5th July 5:30pm


Supported by











Related Content: