Wade Gregory, Helen Rankin & John Head
Originally hailing from Brisbane, Wade Gregory is a jazz pianist, composer, orchestrator and arranger who has been living in Shepparton for the past three years. His compositions have been performed by artists such as Elly Hoyt, the West End Composers’ Collective, Enthusiastic Musicians Orchestra, Brisbane Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, and the Goulburn Valley Concert Orchestra. Since arriving in Shepparton Wade has become heavily involved in the region’s thriving community arts scene, from treading the boards and MD’ing for Shepparton Theatre Arts Group, to conducting local community choir 36 Degrees South.
Helen Rankin has been a private music teacher for 30 years and has written poetry since she was a child. She has also written a short play, lyrics and other stories. She is a local history researcher and has written a book ‘Remembering the Dookie Fallen ~ 100 Years On’ to commemorate the 16 men on the Dookie War Memorial who made the ultimate sacrifice in World War 1. She is co-lyricist for the 2018 world premiere of new Australian musical ‘Dookie: The Musical’ with composer and co-lyricist Wade Gregory - a book that had at first evolved into a new play written by Mr John Head and performed to sellout audiences in 2016. Helen has been a playing member of Goulburn Valley Concert Orchestra, directed by Wendy Oakes OAM for 20 years. She is also a Life Member, is on the Committee of Management and has written their quarterly newsletters for the past 14 years.
John Head is a business person, philanthropist and supporter of the arts in Shepparton, and served Artistic Director of the Shepparton Festival from 2006 to 2015. John is a playwright, actor and director of local productions staged by Shepparton Theatre Arts Group STAG. John has written several plays including Dookie which was performed to sell-out houses by STAG in 2016.
DOOKIE: THE MUSICAL
Set in 2007. The play follows the story of Dean Turner, a soldier returning from Afghanistan with his wounded comrade Steve Williams to his home town of Dookie in central Victoria. The Musical is presented in two Acts with 17 scenes, including a Prologue and contains 16 songs, including reprises and a full orchestra orchestration. The play contains comedic and poignant scenes and discusses the effects of war on soldiers and refugees and the healing spirit of a rich community.
'Dookie' the play, was first presented as a collaborative work in March 2016. John Head commenced the concept and story line in 2013 with Wade and Helen invited to join the project in March 2014. The play was workshopped with readings and a final script and usic ready for commencement of rehearsals in November 2015. The play rehearsed from January to March 2016 and was presented in the Dookie Memorial Hall t o a capacity sellout 3 performance season as part of the Shepparton Festival in March 2016. Wade and Helen secretly commenced working on a full musical score for the work during the play production and presented to John Head at the conclusion of the play season. The work was then workshopped from June 2016 to about July 2017 and a cast was auditioned in Novemebr 2017 with commencement of rehearsals in January 2018 for a final production of a sell out four performance season at the Westside Performing Arts Centre in Mooroopna in April 2018 as part of the commemoration of ANZAC Day and the 100th Anniversary of the final year of WWI.