The Ship Song Project

Sydney Opera House is running “The Ship Song Project”, using a huge variety of performing artists associated with the the venue to reinterpret Nick Cave’s iconic song. Originally performed by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds on their 1990 album The Good Son, the Ship Song is here performed by Neil Finn, Kev Carmody and The Australian Ballet, Sarah Blasko, John Bell, Angus and Julia Stone, Paul Kelly and Bangarra Dance Theatre, Teddy Tahu Rhodes and Opera Australia, Martha Wainwright, Katie Noonan and The Sydney Symphony, The Temper Trap, Daniel Johns and the Australian Chamber Orchestra. The Project was designed to open the doors of the building to all and showcase the broad range of artists and performers who create works of wonder regularly inside the famous sails. Substantial developments in the diversity and depth of programming substantiate the role of SOH as an accessible cultural hub for Sydneysiders, domestic and global audiences.

The Ship Song Project Poster

The 4 minutes 45 seconds spot takes viewers on a beautiful, voyeuristic journey through rehearsal rooms and backstage chasms of the House while capturing each artist in an intimate performance of the same song before his or her evening show. Some are in final rehearsal, some in a quiet moment of reflection. Click on the image below to play the video.

The Ship Song Project is a love song tribute to Sydney Opera House’s place in Australia’s cultural fabric. It is a celebration of the artists, architecture and interior workings of this building which has arguably the world’s most famous exterior. It is also a call to arms to the community at large to come and experience ‘The House’, to come and ‘make a little history’ with the artists and performers that inhabit the iconic landmark.

The music video is being shared on the Ship Song Project YouTube channel, social media channels and traditional broadcast, while composer Elliot Wheeler’s new arrangement of ‘The Ship Song’ has be released on iTunes and other selected channels. Documentary maker Greg Appel has directed a 30 minute documentary featuring behind the scenes interviews with the artists, residents and creators of The Ship Song project, to be screened this month on FOXTEL. The story is narrated by Australian actor, Guy Pearce. Selections from the documentary are available on the Ship Song Project YouTube channel.

Click on the image below to play the Interview with Elliott Wheelerin YouTube


The Ship Song Project was developed at The Monkeys, Sydney, by executive creative directors Justin Drape and Scott Nowell, creative director/art director/copywriter Noah Regan, copywriter Simone Louis, head of broadcast Thea Carone, production coordinator Lauren O’Shea, designer Mike Witcombe, art buyer Alice Quiddington, group account director Dan Beaumont, content director Suzy Coman, content manager Kate Behne, working with Sydney Opera House head of marketing for performing arts Stephen O’Connor, director marketing, communications and customer services VIctoria Doidge.

The Monkey’s Creative Director Noah Regan said: “This project has been a true labour of love. Throughout the process two things drove everybody involved; their deep love of The House and everything it stands for and a passion for the beautiful Nick Cave song and how fitting it is for this concept. We feel we’ve created something every Australian can be proud of and share and the world can appreciate.”

Sydney Opera House Director Marketing and Communications Victoria Doidge said: “We set out to create a piece of content that would celebrate the House’s role in the global creative community and as an icon for Australia. Our content strategy aims to democratise the creative experience for as wide an audience as possible no matter where they are – in doing so we take performances beyond the confines of our stages to be enjoyed online, mobile or watching television. The calibre of the artists who volunteered in this project is testament to the House’s special place in our national psyche. We couldn’t be happier with this beautiful interpretation of one of Australia’s most beloved love songs”.

Filming was shot over a 10-month period by director Paul Goldman via Exit Films with producer Caroline David.

Music was produced by director/arranger Elliott Wheeler with producer Emma Hoy at Turning Studios.

Editor was David Gross at Definition Films.

Photographer for the poster was Simon Harsent with retouching done at Cream Studios by producer Cameron Gray.

Photographer Prudence Upton took behind the scenes photos from The Ship Song Project, at Sydney Opera House Sept 2010 to April 2011. Click on the image below to play the Stills video.

The Ship Song Project - Neil Finn

The Ship Song Project - Julia and Angus Stone

The Ship Song Project - Kev Carmody and The Australian Ballet

The Ship Song Project - Temper Trap

The Ship Song Project - Martha Wainwright

The Ship Song Project - Paul Kelly

The Ship Song Project - Sydney Opera House