The Red Tree: Original Cast Recording

by The Red Tree: Original Cast Recording

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Synopsis by Hilary Bell

Shaun Tan's non-narrative picture book 'The Red Tree' features a series of unrelated images with minimal, oblique text, inviting the reader to create their own story. The only constant is a small red-haired girl and, hidden on each page, a red leaf.

I used Tan's single lines of text as a springboard into the songs, so that his words are woven into the lyrics.

In adapting it for the stage, I imposed a simple narrative about a sensitive little girl, Ava, who one morning can't face the prospect of getting out of bed. There's nothing especially wrong, it's just one of those days where everything feels too hard.

She takes refuge under the covers, picturing what would happen if she did venture out, and in her imagination she gets tossed from one nightmarish place to another. The ordinary objects in her room - clock, lampshade, dice from a board game, an errant snail, the origami boat she makes to calm her nerves - take on surreal proportions and functions: most terrifyingly, her pet catfish.

Her fears are embodied by this gigantic fish, which ultimately swallows her. Salvation comes through her own resourcefulness along with the red leaf - always present, but only noticed now. When she finds herself back in her bedroom, something's different: a little red sapling is emerging through the floorboards. It grows, illuminating the room, and she's ready to face the day.


released September 13, 2018

Nicola Bowman (‘Ava’): vocals
Greta Gertler Gold: piano, vocals, musical director, drums on ‘Kuka Sinä Olet’. Bonnie Stewart: drums, percussion, vocals, bass on ‘Kuka Sinä Olet’.
Ben Fink (‘Fish’): guitar, vocals, ukulele on ‘Float Without a Care’.
On ‘Wonderful Things’, piano by Barney McAll.
Horn and percussion arrangement by Adam D Gold.
Sound design by Adam D Gold, with assistance from David Grigg.
Drum programming by Adam D Gold.

Executive Producers Mark Kilmurry and 'Jean Prouvaire'. A big thanks to all of our Kickstarter backers for making this recording possible. Thank you Shaun Tan, and National Theatre of Parramatta. And love and thanks to Adam and Lila Pannonica Gold, and to Phillip, Moss and Ivy Johnston, Lara Goodridge, John Bell and Anna Volska.

The Red Tree was commissioned and produced by National Theatre of Parramatta on October 19, 2017 (Joanne Kee: Executive Producer). Directed by Neil Gooding.

This cast recording was produced by Greta Gertler Gold and Adam D Gold.

Recorded at Electric Avenue Studios, Sydney on October 29, 2017. Engineered by Phil Punch, assisted by Dave Anderson. Mixed by Adam D Gold. Mastered by Paul Gold.

Cover art: Shaun Tan.

Lyric booklet included as a Bonus Download.

Contact Details:
Hilary Bell, RGM Artists


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