Watershed: The Death of Dr Duncan
As his body hit the water, few heard the impact, but the ripple effect of the murderous act defied natural law and swelled to seismic scale.
It’s 50 years since the infamous drowning of Dr George Ian Ogilvie Duncan; a moment in time that triggered an alleged police cover-up, a city-wide scandal, national outrage, a Scotland Yard investigation, pioneering gay law reform... and a glaring absence of convictions.
Watershed, a new oratorio commemorating this moment, is the product of some of Australia’s most acclaimed creative talents. A searing, no-punches-pulled libretto by Alana Valentine and Christos Tsiolkas has been set by Brisbane composer Joe Twist, winner of the Chanticleer Prize for international choral composition. His affecting score is given theatrical life by director Neil Armfield and choreographer Lewis Major, bringing together solo voices, a dancer, the Adelaide Chamber Singers and an elite chamber
orchestra under the baton of Christie Anderson.
Memorials to the unassuming academic have accumulated in the Torrens precinct of The University of Adelaide - sadness and anger at undelivered justice have gathered across the years - but a nuanced, probing, artistic response on this scale has never been attempted.
Fusing inquest transcripts, press clippings, private correspondence, real and imagined monologues spanning five decades of anti-gay violence, and 30 years of research by local historian Tim Reeves, this joint commission between Adelaide Festival, Feast Festival and State Opera South Australia demands the embrace of all thinking audiences, but is of special importance to this city.
Only six haunting, soul-stirring, soaring performances in the Dunstan Playhouse. Don’t miss it.