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News & Stories

From midnight to dawn

APO Stories

In 2017, APO and The Dust Palace captivated audiences with Midnight. This year, they team up with the orchestra to bring you Dawn. Phil News chats to founders Eve Gordon and Mike Edward.


The Dust Palace founders, Eve Gordon and Mike Edward
The Dust Palace founders, Eve Gordon and Mike Edward

How did The Dust Palace come to be?

Mike: The Dust Palace was from the genius of Eve’s mind. She wanted to create more empathy in the world and decided making art was the good way to do this. This was, of course, a very noble cause and therefore I was happy to stand alongside her and help in whatever way I could. For my part, I was interested in telling stories and making theatre.

What makes The Dust Palace different to a traditional circus?

Eve: We use the extraordinary physicality and extreme physical possibilities that circus allows to engage the audience in stories on a visceral level. We bypass the brain and go straight for the adrenal system!

M: I like to think we can connect with truth more readily. Eve and I are both actors by training and therefore shy away from the simple gratuity of doing tricks. We are far more interested in complex stories, movement with meaning, and looking for justification in all things. You still get the spectacle, but hopefully a fuller, deeper catharsis due to our focus on narrative and character.

When planning the show, what comes first – the music or the story?

E: Each show has a slightly different creative process. However, whenever we’re making a show the story is the baseline; nothing gets through to the stage without being purely about the story and telling the story. Most times the story comes first, often derived from an idea about humanity we think is important. In the case of Dawn, we wanted our protagonist to be a teenaged girl because we think there should be more active stories for young women, wanting to give a young female character decisions to make and times to have to be brave and times to react with compassion.

Which classical music inspires you?

M: I played my daughter Bach every night before bed for the first three years of her life. His music still warms my heart. And my childhood friend Felix used to play me and teach me about classical music when I was 13. We’d listen to it for hours in the top room of his house in the sun. It was through his love and understanding of the form that I grew mine. I’m forever grateful to him for this.

What is the premise behind Dawn?

E: A teenage girl’s father, whom she loves very much, begins to turn into a monster and runs away. She decides to go and find him and help him. On the way she encounters people who aid her and some who try to sway her from the path. She finds her father but he has turned completely into a monster. She is given a sword and inspired to kill him before he damages anyone else. She goes to kill him but can’t bring herself to do it. Instead she gives him love, which returns him to the man she knows and loves.

What exciting theatrics can people expect to see in Dawn?

E: Giant puppets, people swinging across the sky, people being thrown around, a fair, and an incredible sunrise at dawn.

M: Two new apparatus being debuted by The Dust Palace: A Russian Cradle and a teeterboard.

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