The Cricket Banquet


Thursday 16 May

Cricket and music will come together for one evening in May as the clock is turned back 60 years to relive the ‘god of cricket’ Sir Donald Bradman’s only visit to India.

The imperial splendor of The Old Museum in Bowen Hills will be transformed for the dinner-theatre event as part of the ENCOUNTERS: INDIA festival presented by the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University.

Artistic Director and creator of the event, Vincent Plush, explains the event connects the common loves of India and Australia.

“With India, it was almost too easy. We have cricket and curries in common, which was enough to begin work developing THE CRICKET BANQUET.”

In 1953, Sir Donald Bradman and his family boarded a plane from Sydney to London to attend the Ashes series. Knowing that the flight was to touch down at Dum Dum Airport in Calcutta to refuel, The Don requested that the authorities not reveal his presence, fearing pandemonium.

In this (largely fictional) re-creation of that occasion, guests will arrive to THE CRICKET BANQUET under the guise of a large crowd assembled in the airport terminal building for a banquet to welcome their hero.

The Master of Ceremonies, well-known Indian-Australian actor Nicholas Brown, will introduce performers in operatic excerpts, salon pieces and cricket songs from the 1850s to the present day, many to celebrate The Don.

Among the guests will be The Don’s own grand-daughter, Greta Bradman, an acclaimed concert singer, who will present a rare find – one of her grandfather’s own songs. Pianist, Robert Keane will join the star-studded roster of ENCOUNTERS guests and The Con Artists Jazz Band, led by Steve Newcomb. A new song, created by those cricket-tragic twins Martin and Peter Wesley-Smith, will be premiered.

A special three-course Indian banquet has been devised by Manju Jehu and Suneel (Sunny) Lalwani, the much loved owners of the Bombay Dhaba-Bombay Bliss restaurants. Guests are

There will be competitions and prizes for audience members in period costume (Calcutta, 1950s). Tickets are $160 per head or $1,400 for a table of ten (including meal and drinks).

“I have long wanted to find a way to bring cricket and music together,” Plush says of his boyhood passions. “A half-century later, I want everyone to remember this night for the rest of their lives!”

7.30pm, Thursday 16 May


ENCOUNTERS: INDIA is presented by Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University as an extraordinary seven day festival, with more than 70 leading artists from India and Australia across 70 events exploring the links between these two neighbours.


MEDIA CONTACT: Lauren Suto, 0418 799 544,

The Australian – ENCOUNTERS: CHINA Review

MUSIC: Gillian Wills
From: The Australian
May 11, 2010 12:00AM

Encounters: Musical Meetings Between Australia and China.

The Queensland Conservatorium, May 6-9.

COINCIDING with the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, the Queensland Conservatorium mounted an ambitious, robust program to celebrate and probe the complex musical relationships between Australia and China.

Much more significant than a traditional music conference, the themes were explored through discussion and

Contributors included composers Gao Ping and John Huie, sheng player Wang Zheng-Ting and percussionist Vanessa

Workshops scrutinised Sichuan music, the spiritual music of Buddhism and Taoism and kunqu, or traditional Chinese opera. Concerts featured the local Sunshine Philharmonic Choir and a dazzling pipa virtuoso from Beijing.
There were film screenings of Lulu’s Opera House, a photography exhibition and discussions about the impact of
Chinese theatre and opera during the gold rush years.

Impressively, the opening concert premiered three Australian and three Chinese works, performed by the New Purple Forbidden City Orchestra from the Central Conservatory of Beijing and Queensland’s Golden Orb ensemble. The
concert is to be repeated at Beijing’s Modern Music Festival later in the month.

Curator Nicholas Ng aimed to broaden western perceptions of Chinese music – with traditional forms to folk,
contemporary and jazz – and asked audiences to consider whether pieces derived from a fusion of Australian and
Chinese idioms are evolving in to a new musical genre.

A provocative series of discussions was chaired by Vincent Plush with Anne Boyd and John Curro as panel members.
One intense discussion asked whether there are moral or economic ramifications when composers such as Puccini or
Larry Sitsky (in his Violin Concerto No.3) borrow from Chinese music.

The concluding concert, Harvest of Endurance, featured the Song Company and conductor Roland Peelman.
It included the work of 18 composers – Betty Beath, Elena Kats-Chernin, Erik Griswold and Kim Cunio among them –
and narration by William Yang.

Each evocative piece reflected on a different painting from a 50m scroll that charts the history and suffering endured by Chinese immigrants.

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