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Byron Shire
May 8, 2021

Interview with Toni Childs

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Toni Childs at the Brunswick Picture House

Childs Play at Bruns Picture House

Internationally celebrated musician, Emmy winner and three times Grammy nominee Toni Childs is bringing her show to The Brunswick Picture House. With two acts, Childs is promising a special two hour performance as she celebrates her vast catalogue of music, which also saw her celebrate the 30th anniversary of her critically acclaimed album Union in 2019. Toni will be performing hits and fan favourites from Union, House of Hope, The Woman’s Boat and Keep the Faith.

‘It’s all the fan faves,’ she laughs.

The second act is part of the opus that she continues to craft; weaving her way between narratives of nature and art, where she presents the music that accompanies some of her splendid projects. ‘I do all the new stuff in the second hour, It’s a Beautiful Noise and then Citizens of the Planet, which comes out at the end of the decade.’

Yep, you heard it here first. At the end of the decade. That’s because Toni is thinking big. Her vision hasn’t just been about raising awareness about threatened species like bees, or wild spaces like the Great Barrier Reef, her challenge is to bring the audience into the space and inspire them to be collaborators and champions for the cause.

Proceeds from the Brunswick Picture House show will go towards Toni’s projects.

Reef 360 is her latest project, which focuses on the Great Barrier Reef.  She will be performing in collaboration with IKONIX, an Australian team of professionals producing bespoke content and immersive environments using video, lighting, audio and architecture.

‘The guys from IKONIX bought me an 80 foot dome and said “You could do your underwater concert in that”. It fits 700 people standing and 300 lying down. I thought “Wow, this could tour the show through regional Australia!”. [Because] instead of being an aquarium piece, we can take the show to land-locked areas and it could tour on its own for three years. The show is an hour and 15 minutes with the last 15 being a shout out to local community, to schools and to educators and families to adopt the Great Barrier Reef. We engage with marine biologists who are creating a coral bank – [that asks kids] what would it look like to take a species into their school and really own it?  And to be part of it – to fund raise for the NGOs that work in the space, to repair and restore the Reef.’

Toni was all set to take It’s a Beautiful Noise on tour, but the pandemic hit. And it seems the down time has only broadened Toni’s vision.

‘COVID-19 has given me time to focus – I want my shows to be like “Wow!” visually and aesthetically and to have depth [of meaning].’

Her other show is focused on the plight of the pollinators. It’s a concert about what is happening to our bees. So Toni has made a huge bee that will be installed in Katherine this month.

‘It’s the prototype of the Big Bee. I am also working with some women who raise silk worms – we are making a giant bee with them; we will wrap it in fishnet material and then get 10 000 silkworms to weave the skin of the bee! They are then going to grow the eggs that are needed to weave the bodies of the other 30 installations.’

The immensely innovative and creative Toni Childs has big plans. She’s creating and making immersive concert experiences around the country. It’s something she funds herself.

After an incredibly well-received 55-date national tour in 2019, the legendary Toni Childs returns for a special show at the Brunswick Picture House on Thursday 29 April.

Purchase tickets at brunswickpicturehouse.com/event/toni-childs-retrospective

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