Along with Claire Edwardes and seven canny composers, the playwright explains how she created a musical Everywoman.

“We’re after seven stories that can work in any order with music which may not have been written yet – oh, and the words shouldn’t pull focus…”. A tricky brief, but one that composer Amanda Brown and percussionist Claire Edwardes threw in playwright Hilary Bell’s direction for a new show premiering at Vivid Sydney. Seven Storiesmixes music – by seven leading Australian female composers – storytelling and visuals in a co-presentation by City Recital Hall, Ensemble Offspring and the Creative Music Fund.

Fortunately, Bell and Brown go way back to high school days, a useful background for such an intensive and potentially delicate collaboration. “I think they quite wisely decided early on that they needed a writer, but when I came on board, we didn’t know what the project was going to look like,” Bell tells me. “All we knew was that the music was going to be at the forefront, and the job of the text, whatever form it was going to take, was to make something cohesive out of these seven pieces of music. I didn’t really have a...

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