Seddon creator Saulwick offers Permission to Speak

Tamara Saulwick

The complex relationship between a parent and their child has proven fertile creative fodder for the latest production by Seddon theatre creator-performer Tamara Saulwick.

Chamber Made Opera is launching the world premiere of Permission to Speak, a choral performance about family relationships.

Director Saulwick says the work draws together original sound recordings and performed text to explore what can and can’t be said between parent and child in different families and at various life stages.

“This is a relationship that’s there through your lifetime and it evolves whether you’re 12 or 25 or 40 and have your own kids,” Saulwick said.

“The thing that talking to people has brought to attention is that the art of intimate conversation is a skill and something we learn in our family by way of example.”

Permission to Speak was crafted from a series of interviews with people of all ages and woven together with the singing human voice. Saulwick said the process made her consider her own relationships with her parents and her young son.

“It’s made me reflect on how we communicate within my family and how important that is.”

Permission to Speak is a first-time collaboration between Saulwick and composer Kate Neal. The director said working with Neal and the four performer-vocalists on crafting choral counterpoint to the pre-recorded voices had been a rewarding experience.

“There is that physical layer of the recordings, something about the quality that brings a ‘realness’, a multiplicity of expression,” she said.

“Then there are these four really fantastic and accomplished performers who bring their own wonderful contribution to the work.”

Local connections in the work are strong with both lighting designer Bosco Shaw and costume designer Marg Horwell also from Seddon.

Permission to Speak will be performed daily from tonight until Sunday at the Arts House, 521 Queensberry Street, North Melbourne.

Bookings: or 9322 3713