So, what exactly is contemporary fatherhood?
Good question – and one that is being explored in an exciting new mixed-media performance at Canberra’s The Street Theatre.
In His Words: Voices of Fatherhood is the creation of Canberra artist Creswick (formerly known as Liam Budge), an award-winning composer, musician, photographer and videographer.
His unique performance event mixes filmed interviews with live music to present a powerful insight into the lives of fathers and their children.
There are nine fathers, nine interviews and nine lives playing out in a cinematic experience melded with an original music score and seven songs – all written by Creswick.
The show invites the audience to step inside modern fatherhood through film, music and song, together with feature narratives, and gain an insight into the experience of being a father.
Creswick, 33, has a four-year-old son himself and says being a parent has been a life-changing and creative experience.
“I had just moved back to Australia from New York and was looking to build a bigger concept piece of work and then lockdown hit,” he says.
“My son was one-and-a-half at the time and I was going deep into fatherhood. It made me think a lot about what fatherhood is and what it means.
“I had a great relationship with my father. He had a tricky relationship with his father.
“My own journey into fatherhood has been transformative, and weaving other fathers’ stories together has shown me the through lines and commonalities in the experiences of modern fatherhood.
“It has highlighted the deep role that masculinity plays in our abilities as men and fathers to parent, and how vulnerability and masculinity interact.
“It’s a pretty broad mix – fathers from a diverse range of cultural backgrounds as well as different ages, and some who I know and were already friends of mine, to complete strangers willing to share their stories.”
Drawing inspiration from artists such as Sting, Bon Iver, Nils Frahm and Vince Jones, Creswick (a Canberra-born jazz vocalist, ANU graduate and current teacher in the ANU music program) describes the production’s music as an eclectic mix of pop, jazz, folk and rock.
And with soaring instrumental solos, delicate ballads, art rock and ultra-vivid textural soundscapes.
He is a multi-award winning artist, including the prestigious James Morrison Generations Award, and has been described by The Australian as “a talent destined for wide acclaim”.
Creswick will be joined on stage by an exceptional ensemble of jazz luminaries: Brett Williams (piano and keys), ANU alumni Ben Hauptmann (guitars), James Hauptmann (drums), and Chris Pound (bass).
Made with and for The Street, In His Words is the first of its Early Phase commissioning projects to be produced travelling from conceptualisation in 2021 through to production in 2023.
Artistic director Caroline Stacey describes the production as: “A remarkable work of ambition transforming traditional parameters of the contemporary jazz-rock-pop-folk musical experience extending the boundaries of storytelling with unfiltered authenticity.”
Audiences will enter a surround-sound world where cinematic portraits of intimate dad encounters hook into the pulse of live music.
They will be inspired, provoked and moved by the vulnerability, honesty and deep affection of the stories told.
In His Words: Voices of Fatherhood has its world premiere on Friday 23 June at 7:30 pm, followed by shows on Saturday 24 June (7:30 pm) and Sunday 25 June (4 pm).
Following the three-night opening season, Creswick will tour with his 90-minute show to other Australian cities.
For more information and to book tickets, visit The Street Theatre website.