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The British Paraorchestra

The Nature of Why

The stage becomes a site of discovery in this up close and personal music and dance experience.
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‘A physics-crunching, joyous, 70-minute musical adventure.’

- Writing about Dance
'This isn’t a performance you simply see or hear. It’s one you feel.’  Bristol 24/7 

Feel the transformative power of music and dance in an epic performance bursting with passion and joyous intensity.

Merging contemporary dance and live orchestral music The Nature of Why erases the divide between musicians, dancers, and audience, immersing you in an uplifting up-close-and-personal theatrical experience.

Led by renowned conductor Charles Hazelwood, members of the world’s only large-scale ensemble for professional disabled musicians, the British Paraorchestra, are joined by string players from Perth Symphony Orchestra to perform a cinematic live-score by Goldfrapp’s Will Gregory. The stage becomes a site of discovery as four dancers move to the music with choreography by Australian artist and disability advocate Caroline Bowditch.

Taking inspiration from the unconventional curiosity of Nobel prize-winning physicist, Richard Feynman, and his search for meaning in the world around us, The Nature of Why is an intimately powerful and evocative work.

Images: Paul Blakemore

The detail


Tickets from $25 - $75 + BF

General Admission Adult $75 / Concession $71 / Friend $68 / Student $25

Rush Tix $36 available now!

Heath Ledger Theatre


21 Feb - 23 Feb 2019

Thu 21 Feb 2019, 7.30 PM

Fri 22 Feb 2019, 3.00 PM

Fri 22 Feb 2019, 7.30 PM

Sat 23 Feb 2019, 3.00 PM

Sat 23 Feb 2019, 7.30 PM



  • Tactile Tour Tactile Tour
  • Auslan Performances Auslan Performances
  • Audio Described Audio Described
  • Assistive Listening Assistive Listening
  • Wheelchair access Wheelchair access

Audio description, tactile tour & Auslan interpretation for all performances

Tactile Tour – 1.5hr prior to the performance, all welcome!

additional information


Please Note

Duration: 60mins
Latecomers only admitted at a suitable break in the performance.

Warning: This is a standing show. We will have a limited number of seats available for those who have difficulty standing for long periods.



Artistic Credits

Composer Will Gregory
Choreographer Caroline Bowditch
Conductor Charles Hazlewood
Directors Caroline Bowditch & Charles Hazlewood

Musicians The British Pararchestra & String players from Perth Symphony Orchestra
Dancers KJ Clarke-Davies, Victoria Fox, Marta Masiero, Alex McCabe   

Lighting Designer  Seb Blaber
Sound Designer  Simon Honywill
Production Manager  Laura Hook
Costume Designer  Bianca Ward

The British Paraorchestra 
Lloyd Coleman (Clarinet, Keyboard)
Takashi Kikuchi (Viola) 
Dom Coyote (Electric Guitar) 
Guy Llewellyn (French Horn) 
Martin Ludenbach  (Double Bass)
Victoria Oruwari (Soprano) 
Harriet Riley (Percussion) 
Joanne Roughton–Arnold (Soprano) 
Eddy Sayer (Percussion) 
Steph West (Harp)   
Tom Wraith (Cello)  

For The Paraorchestra and Friends 
Company Co-ordinator  Nicci Bailey
Associate Music Director Lloyd Coleman
CEO/Executive Producer Jonathan Harper
Artistic Director Charles Hazlewood
Artistic Producer Hannah Williams Walton
Orchestra Manager Tom Wraith  
Marketing Consultant Laura Evans
Press Consultant Perspective PR


Post Show Conversation

Sat 23 Feb, 4pm


About the Artists

The Paraorchestra and Friends
The Paraorchestra and Friends’ mission is to redefine what an orchestra can be. They see it as an extraordinary and perfectly synchronised body of instruments that draws on the tradition of centuries, but is enriched and expanded by the talents, the instruments and the zeitgeist of the 21st century. At their core is The British Paraorchestra, the world’s only large-scale ensemble for disabled musicians. This boundary-breaking group sets a new template for music-making, either on its own or in collaboration with its two partner ensembles, the ‘Friends’ of The British Paraorchestra. These are the Army of Generals; an electrifying ensemble of non-disabled orchestral musicians that has built an enthusiastic following and is famed for its dynamic energy-fuelled performances, and, Charles Hazlewood’s All Star Collective; an electronica band comprising some of the big names of pop and rock world. The Paraorchestra and Friends is a registered charity based in Bristol that aims to further the aims of the British Paraorchestra through an array of ground-breaking musical projects. Thanks to Arts Council England, The Mark Leonard Trust, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and Hauser & Wirth for their on-going support.


Caroline Bowditch
Melbourne-based performance artist and choreographer Caroline Bowditch describes herself as a performer, maker, teacher, speaker and mosquito buzzing in the ears of the arts industry in Australia and the UK. She has choreographed/performed work as girl jonah with Fiona Wright, created her own work Proband (2007) after being awarded a Wellcome Trust Arts Grant and co-created NQR and The Long and the Short of It as Scottish Dance Theatre’s Dance Agent for Change (2008-2012). In 2012 Bowditch created Leaving Limbo Landing for the Cultural Olympiad and in 2014 Falling in Love with Frida, which was awarded a prestigious Herald Angel award and continues to tour locally and internationally. She was recently commissioned, by Unlimited and the Northern Festivals Network, to create and tour The Adventures of Snigel.

Bowditch is a founder member of Weave Movement Theatre (Melbourne) and The FATHoM Project (Newcastle), is Artist in Association with Paragon Music (Glasgow) and was Visiting Professor at Coventry University. Her consultancy work in accessibility and inclusivity includes ongoing work with Skånes Dansteater, Sweden and most recently with Australian organisations Access2Arts, Arts Access and the Australia Council for the Arts. She has led international residencies in Italy, Switzerland and Germany and is regularly invited to mentor local, national and international artists at all levels of their artistic development. In 2017 she was Associated Artist with Dance 4, Paragon Ensemble, Tramway and Imaginate.  


Will Gregory
Will Gregory is an acclaimed multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer, and is one half of electro-pop duo Goldfrapp, who have released seven albums since forming in 1999. In 2011 Gregory’s first opera, Piccard in Space, premiered at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London. Gregory also writes and tours with his award-winning Moog Ensemble.  


Charles Hazlewood
Charles Hazlewood won first prize at the European Broadcasting Union Conducting Competition in his early 20s and has since conducted many of the world’s greatest orchestras (including The Royal Concertgebouw of Amsterdam, The Philharmonia, London Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic, Swedish Radio Symphony, Gothenburg Symphony, Danish Radio Symphony). He has played Carnegie Hall, the BBC Proms and multiple festivals throughout the world, has collaborated with artists as diverse as Steve Reich, Nigel Kennedy, Professor Green and Wyclef Jean, has conducted over 200 world premieres and won the Berlin Film Festival ‘Golden Bear’ for Best Film with his South African township opera company’s U Carmen e-Khayelitsha. He has founded the world’s first large-scale professional ensemble of virtuoso musicians with disabilities – The British Paraorchestra – who debuted at the Closing Ceremony of London 2012 Paralympics and also formed its sister orchestra, Army of Generals. In 2016 he and an amalgamation of both ensembles performed the first ever orchestral headliner at Glastonbury Festival. He has authored, presented and conducted the music in multiple films for BBC TV (on Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, amongst others, as well as The Beatles, Minimalism and Badly Drawn Boy) and has won three Sony Academy Awards for his shows on BBC Radio 2. He created the scores for the South African Mysteries (West End and worldwide) Kneehigh’s Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs) and The Tin Drum, and has three TED talks to his name.



Commissioned and supported by DADAA, Unlimited, with funding from Arts Council England. The Nature of Why is supported by Stavros Niarchos Foundation.


Event Program

To download the event program click here.

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