Sally Whitwell hopes her new musical might throw a spanner into the works of the usual commercial Christmas machine.

Work Cog in the Machine
Composer Sally Whitwell
Scored for Young People
Commissioned by Sydney Philharmonia Choirs
Premiere Glebe Town Hall and Bondi Pavilion, December 5 and 6
Performers VOX, Sydney Children’s Choir


I’m a little emotionally conflicted about Christmas. It’s the commercialisation of it that irks me. Festive advertisements start cranking up all the way from the beginning of October until the big day.  Ridiculous! It is my aversion to aggressive marketing that inspired my brand new musical theatre work, Cog in the Machine.

Commissioned by Sydney Philharmonia Choirs’ youth ensemble VOX, the brief was for a Christmas show they could take to family friendly community venues. A musical seemed to me the perfect genre through which to tell my modern Christmas story. All the main characters are played by VOX choristers (so much talent within the ensemble!) and also by some wonderful young choristers from Sydney Children’s Choir. Inspired at least in part by the musical Oncewhere the cast play the orchestral accompaniment, the VOX...

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