Degree Name

Doctor of Creative Arts


Faculty of Creative Arts


This exegesis provides an exposition of the theoretical basis for my two most recent music-theatre compositions The Hanging of Jean Lee and The Villainelles, both developed from poetic collections of Dr Jordie Albiston. This written documentation primarily concerns the creative adaptation of extant literary works to composition-led interdisciplinary performance.

As a companion to the documented folio works that form the greater part of this DCA, this exegesis is intended to illuminate the artistic inception, rationale and creative methodologies of these two major works created in the period of 2003- 2008, and for which I undertook a variety of creative roles including composer, artistic director, image researcher, image director and performer. Together, these works assist the identification of my artistic practice as particular within the broader context of Australian and international music-theatre. Additionally, this exegesis reflects upon artistic investigations recurrent throughout my catalogue dating back to 1986 that have led to a particular area of inquiry in these two works.

Structured in three sections, this exegesis opens by taking Vivian Glance’s idea of ‘transcreation’ to formulate a rationale for the artistic inception of these two creative works. Here, and more broadly within the context of music theatre practice, I demonstrate my understanding of Richard Vella’s idea of a ‘theatre of music’ as critically operative within these transcreations (Chapter One). The influence upon my work through working with other performing and screen artists, as well as the impact of my earlier catalogue upon my current approach to extant text is acknowledged (Chapter Two) and is followed by my identification of qualities in the writing of Dr Jordie Albiston as ideal for transcreation to music theatre (Chapter Three). Chapters Four to Six discuss the three critical transcreative stages of libretto, score and projected imagery concerning The Hanging of Jean Lee, that combine to reveal a methodology for creative production beyond traditional and defined codes of artistic practice, that is to say, a composer working beyond the score. Chapter Seven discusses the creative rationale to lead the composition of The Villainelles with my own voice, and demonstrates a methodology that activates poetic subjects through original music composition.

Both creative works required elements of improvisation and detailed interpretation thus the full realisations are best represented in the digital formats of DVD and CD which are each accompanied by a list of chapters or tracks. To further evidence the creative techniques employed, this exegesis also refers to additional support material in the form of music scores. Additionally, the image projection script for The Hanging of Jean Lee is provided. These items should be regarded as critical maps for creative realisation, understanding that further and minor alterations were made beyond score and script during the respective rehearsal processes.


Accompanying CDs and DVD can be consulted with the print copy of the thesis in the Archives Collection, call no. is T 780.905/6



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.