Audio Robert Ray discusses 'The sentimental bloke', 2005

TLF ID R8816

This is an edited sound recording of the Australian choreographer Robert Ray recalling the challenges of working on the adaption of 'The songs of a sentimental bloke' staged by the Australian Ballet company in 1985. Ray discusses how he prepared himself for the task. He also outlines the positive public response to the ballet, in Australia and overseas. The recording was made in November 2005 and lasts for 1 min 19 s.

Educational details

Educational value
  • The recording gives an insight into part of the process of turning a literary work into a work of performance art - in this case making a ballet inspired by a popular book of poems. 'The songs of a sentimental bloke' by the South Australian-born writer C J Dennis (1876-1938) was written in slang and published in 1915. The 'bloke' in Dennis's poems is a larrikin character, Bill, who falls in love with a girl called Doreen and has a 'knockabout' mate known as Ginger Mick.
  • In the recording Ray (1947-) outlines how the ballet's musical director, John Lanchberry (1923-2003), insisted that the performance not include any of Dennis's actual poetry. Ray explains that he 'submerged' himself in Dennis's poems and images to prepare for the task of choreographing the ballet. He draws a parallel between this task and the task of producing ballets based on Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet'.
  • The Australian Ballet's 'Sentimental bloke' was toured overseas to highlight Australia's performing arts as one of a series of special events in 1988 to mark the bicentenary of British settlement. Ray recalls that it was well received in Russia despite its Australian themes.
  • Formed in 1962, the Australian Ballet is a touring repertory company that performs a variety of works in both classical and contemporary styles. Each year it presents about 200 performances in cities and regional areas around Australia, and it tours internationally on a regular basis.

Other details

  • Publisher
  • Date of contribution: 20 Sep 2013
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia
  • Address: Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
  • URL:
  • Copyright holder
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia
  • Address: Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
  • URL:
  • Remarks: Copyright Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Content provider
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia
  • Address: Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
  • URL:
  • Author
  • Date of contribution: 2005
  • Name: Robert Ray
  • Remarks: speaker
Access profile
  • Colour independence
  • Device independence
Learning resource type
  • Sound
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer - minimum version: 8.0 (MS-Windows) - maximum version: 9.0 (MS-Windows)
  • Firefox - minimum version: (MS-Windows)
  • Safari - minimum version: 5.1 (MacOS)
Operating systems
  • MacOS - minimum version: 10.6
  • MS-Windows - minimum version: XP - maximum version: 7
  • © Education Services Australia Ltd, 2013, except where indicated under Acknowledgements.