The Renaissance Players: ‘British Beasts, Birds and Bards’

Members of The Renaissance Players Llew Kiek, James Wannan and Winsome Evans.
Members of The Renaissance Players Llew Kiek, James Wannan and Winsome Evans.


Australia’s premier and longest-running early music ensemble, The Renaissance Players will perform British Beasts, Birds and Bards –  a concert of English traditional and folk music from the 16th century to the 1970s – with a 20th century twist! 

A touch of mediæval song (ornamented with flourishes from later times) and music by the young, lusty King Henry VIII are ancient precursors to the concert’s main focus on popular rounds, traditional songs and country dances from Somerset, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Sussex and Wexford. 

Newly arranged for a wide variety of renaissance and modern folk instruments, along with sets of labyrinthine variations on pop music of the 1970s, the whole is garnished with a spicy, eclectic assortment of 20th century British poetry.

 A musical adventure across the centuries with jokes, mysteries and hidden references aplenty: all sung in traditional styles and played on exotic instruments. 

Led by Associate Professor (and international doyen of early music) Winsome Evans BEM OAM, the line-up for this concert series includes Jessica O’Donoghue, Mitchell Riley, Susie Bishop (singers); Llew Kiek, Andrew Lambkin, Winsome Evans, James Wannan, Jane Duncan, Kirsty Vickers (multi-instrumentalists); Jessica Lim (organist); Geoff Sirmai (poetry) with cheeky readings and poems. 

Gemshorn, recorders, douçaine, crumhorns, rackett, whistle, flutes, rebecs, violins, violas, baroque cello, ud, gittern, citole, guitar, Irish harp, ukuleles, piano, handbells, assortment of exotic percussion including nakkers, daireh, tabor and darabukka and the Great Hall organ.

Commemorating the outstanding cultural and intellectual contributions to humanity of Pete Seeger and Alan Turing (the Enigma code hero), the program also features a tribute to our embattled ABC. It includes works by the group’s late patron Emeritus Professor Sir Peter Platt and its legendary poet and original reader Professor Frederick May.

 The Renaissance Players is Australia’s longest-running early music group. Debuting in 1966 in the Great Hall of Sydney University, its more than 200 alumni boast such eminent performers as Graham Pushee, Lyndon Terracini, Michael Atherton, Barbara Stackpool, Wayne Richmond and Jonathan Rubin. It has performed all over Australia and overseas and produced more than 20 internationally acclaimed CD recordings.

 Tickets $36 at the door

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Enquiries: (02) 4751 4910


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