This presentation unpacks the development of A Box of Memories: A Musical, a new Australian piece of music theatre, that explores the experience of dementia from several perspectives - that of the person, their family and of a healthcare practitioner engaged in their care.
The work has been developed collaboratively by Erin McKellar, a doctoral student at Sydney University and Duncan McKellar, an old age psychiatrist and Clinical Specialist with HammondCare.
In this presentation, the co-creators will discuss how they engaged in the process of writing and composing in order to intentionally convey conflicts generated within the healthcare system in relation to dementia, and to capture the experience of intersectional marginalisation, where layers of disadvantage are experienced by the central character as they live with dementia.
The co-creators will also discuss how story and music powerfully offer opportunity for connection with an audience that creates awareness and is ultimately humanising.
Two-time Downbeat award winner, Erin McKellar, is an Australian vocalist, songwriter and composer. Erin’s musical, A Box of Memories, co-created with her father, Duncan, an old age psychiatrist, had a sell-out premiere season at the Adelaide Fringe Festival in 2022 and won a Bank SA Theatre Award. In 2016, Erin won the Beacon Award for Undergraduate Research at Adelaide University. In 2020, she was awarded the Helpmann Academy Rob Lyon’s Award for Voice. Her musical career is multi-faceted and has seen her perform at Dizzy’s Jazz Club in New York through to composing for Australia’s kids show Dance Star, music directing girl band G-Nation and co-writing songs for Eurovision-Australia Decides and The Voice. Erin has participated in workshops and intensives at the Julliard School and American Theatre Wing in New York and the Guildhall School in London. She is completing a Doctor of Musical Arts at Sydney University, exploring intersections of gender, age and dementia in music theatre through both her creative work and her research.