A Quick Chat With David Page

David Page is a composer, performer, and Artist in Residence at Bangarra Dance Theatre. He is a descendant of the Nunkul people and the Munaldjali clan of the Yugambeh tribe from South East Queensland. He’s bringing his show Page 8 back to Sydney, so we caught up with him and asked a few of our questions. 

How do you describe what you do for a living to people you’ve never met? 

David Page in Page 8. Photo by Heidrun Lohr.
David Page in Page 8. Photo by Heidrun Lohr.

I am lucky enough to have a job that I passionately enjoy.

How do you describe what you do for a living to people who know you well?

It beats doing Michael Jackson on the kitchen table.

Bangarra Dance Theatre is celebrating 25 years – what do you think makes Bangarra endure?

Keeping the integrity of our unique way of story telling and embracing the real reason why we started in the first place, which is reminding the world that Australia has an aboriginal history.

What are the most rewarding benefits of being an Artist-in-Residence at Bangarra?

You are never alone. You become a member of an extended creative family.

What are the biggest challenges of being an Artist-in-Residence?

I don’t like that title. It’s always a challenge to be recognised as an artist without putting a label in front of it.

Whose advice do you always take, no matter what?

My dad’s.

Who or what are your biggest influences in your work as a composer?

Life experiences. Family and friends.

Which five singers would you include on an ‘about me’ playlist?

Aretha Franklin, Curtis Mayfield, Kate Bush, David Bowie and Carole King. (there are too many songs for me to narrow down to 5!)

What is it like working with your younger brother Stephen Page, the Artistic Director of Bangarra?

It’s a fucking nightmare.. Nah, gammon. It’s a dream. He’s my brother and we totally understand each other.

David Page in Page 8. Photo by Heidrun Lohr.
David Page in Page 8. Photo by Heidrun Lohr.

You have had such a varied and interesting career – what kind of thing would you like to try next?

I always wanted to be a city planner. Maybe that’s from living in Sydney for too long. That’s what I would do next – replan Sydney.

You’ve been performing in Black Diggers as it travels around Australia. How have you found the experience?

I did the first two seasons – Brisbane and Sydney. I can truly say it is one of the most exciting and memorable theatre plays I have worked on so far.

When you have a day off, how do you like to unwind?

I like to spend some time catching up with family and friends. Also just chilling out on my own at home.

What makes you immeasurably happy?

When you get something that you need really badly.

What makes you immeasurably frustrated?

When I can’t remember someone’s name.

Which artist do you wish more people knew about?

If you are referring to the people of the world, Deborah Mailman.

Tell us a little bit about Corroboree Sydney.

Corroboree Sydney is now in its second year and from my experience from last year it has passed its crawling stage and is now walking quite comfortably. Sydney will always be reminded how significant and elaborate the indigenous representation needs to be showcased in this manner.

Tell us about Page 8.

It’s a trip down memory lane, well actually a couple of streets that exist in Queensland where I grew up as the 8th child in a family of 14. I share stories from being born a twin to being a child pop star, a concreter, to a monster.

Do you feel differently about the work this time around than you did when it premiered in 2004?

Of course I do. A lot has happened in 10 years, so it’s hard to just concentrate on that certain period of my life. So I can say that I appreciate that I am here today and continue to share those experiences.

Who do you think would enjoy the show?

It is a show that appeals to all ages. If you are part of a family you will enjoy it.

When and where can we see Page 8?

The Bangarra Studio Theatre from 21 November – 14 December 2014. It runs from the beginning of the Corroboree Festival.

Cassie Tongue

Cassie is a theatre critic and arts writer in Sydney, and is the deputy editor of AussieTheatre. She has written for The Guardian, Time Out Sydney, Daily Review, and BroadwayWorld Australia. She is a voter for the Sydney Theatre Awards.

Cassie Tongue

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