Mick Thomas

Vandemonian Lags…..

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Vandemonian Lags – New Songs of Transportation from the Prison Without Walls

Here’s an article that explains what it’s all about:


All these songs come from the Founders and Survivors Storylines website which is now LIVE.

Explore all 21 Lifelines and immerse yourself in Mugsheets where you can find records for 69,669 Tasmanian convicts – and for many of them, using identity records – create a realistic face using our Facemaker Identikit tool.

So that’s what the show is called and if it sounds like a mouthful well that’s fitting because it is a great big undertaking. But if it’s a big one, it’s one that I am really overjoyed is finally seeing the light of day.  I suppose the first song would have been written for the project at least three years ago and I guess it has grown  from there. The recording have pretty much all been up on the Founders and Survivors website for a while now but the chance to get them all together and assemble them in a coherent live theatrical form is a challenge I am really looking forward to.


Basically the project is being backed by the people at Mona  in Hobart for their Dark Mona mid-Winter festival. There’s three shows – one in Launceston at The Princess Theatre and two in Hobart at the Theatre Royal. And believe me they have shown a lot of faith in what this show might ultimately be.


What I am really happy about is that  it is not just a dry rendering of all the songs but rather a layered multi media theatrical production that’s ambitious and potentially vivid as a way of presenting what I’d like to hope has become a pretty formidable cycle of tunes. The other thing that is really exciting is the cast of players involved. Basically it has started from the players on the recordings with the core band composed of Barclay on the percussion and singing with Squeezebox and Jen Anderson on various accordions, keyboards, fiddles, mandolins etc. Then Craig Pilkington will there to play guitar and bass along with myself and Ben Salter, Darren Hanlon and Van Walker. Jeff Lang will be there on the dobro and guitar, Andy Reid on the clarinet, Liz Stringer and Sal Kimber on the guitar and banjo. And the lead vocals will be handled by a whole bunch of us – Sal Kimber, Liz Stringer, Darren Hanlon, Andy Reid, Jeff Lang, Ben Salter and my good self of course.


And on top of all this as part  of the dramatic component we have engaged Tim Rodgers and Brian Nankervis to work as  sort of colonial anchor men helping give the songs life and context ( and of course Tim sings a couple as well).


There’s thirteen players in all and so it’s a pretty mammoth logistical undertaking to get everyone rehearsed, transported (!!!), and accommodated. So, the script has been written, promotional photos have been taken. The projections have been assembled, production has been booked so as you might imagine there is a whole team of people working on hotels, flights and equipment.  There’s a stack of work between now and the 12th of June but I reckon it’s going to be a lot of fun. Fancy a trip to the apple isle anyone?