David Page is a man of many talents. His arts pursuits alone include dancing, singing, acting and composing. He has composed music for theatre, television and films, as well as performed on stage and in films. David’s family is from South East Queensland and he is a descendant of the Mununjali and Noonucal nations.
He has received four Deadly Sounds Awards, an ARIA nomination for Heartland and was given the first Indigenous Artists Award for the Sidney Myer Foundation. Knowing all of this it would come as no surprise that Arts Law is very pleased that David has recently become a patron of the Centre.
David’s musical career began in his teens when he released two singles with Atlantic Records. He also performed as Little Davy Page, a child star on shows ranging from Countdown to The Paul Hogan Show. In the 1980's he studied saxophone, voice, composition and song at the Centre for Aboriginal Studies in Music (CASM) at Adelaide University.
David joined the Bangarra Dance Theatre as a resident composer in 1990. He composed scores for their major works and also performed with Bangarra at WOMAD concerts in Adelaide and Johannesburg in 1999.
David has composed music for televisions shows including Heartland, Pride (part of the Seven Deadly Sins series), Poison, Songlines, Living Black and Pioneers of Love. He has composed for the Australian Ballet and several short films.
Together with Stephen Francis he contributed music to the Opening Ceremonies of the Sydney Olympic Games and the Sydney Olympic Arts Festival, in 2002 – the Sydney Dreaming Festival and in 2006 he contributed to the Indigenous section of the Melbourne Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony.
As an actor David has performed in a number of productions including Page 8 which was an autobiographical one man performance. It told David's story from a childhood singing star to an adult artist and his experiences growing up as a young Aboriginal man. Page 8 was performed at the Belvoir St Theatre, Brisbane Festival, the Sydney Opera House Message Sticks festival and toured nationally and internationally. His film credits include Two Bob Mermaid directed by Darlene Johnson, Oscar and Lucinda directed by Gillian Armstrong and Green Bush directed by Warwick Thornton.
Blanch: How did you become interested in the performing arts?
David: As a child I was introduced to the music industry and always knew that’s what I wanted to do. I basically followed my dream to become a performer/music artist. I must say that being part of a significant culture I believe I am one of many messengers to tell our story of existence.
Blanch: What motivates you as a performer?
David: My family, friends, my best friend Darren and great artists too many to mention.
Blanch: You come from a large family, are the rest of the family performers. And have you performed together?
David: Yes my 2 brothers were and are wonderful performers. Most of my family have a special individuality about them, they are certainly not shy of performing.
Blanch: Who else have you worked with?
David: Stephen Page. Wesley Enoch, Reg Livermore Christine Anu, Luke Caroll, Wayne Blair, Lillian Crombie, Glen Shay lots of talented people.
Blanch: How successful was “Page 8”? How long did you perform this for and where?
David: It was very successful I think seeing it ran for 2 years on and off. I performed 112 shows as well as touring the U.K.
Blanch: Do you see yourself as a strong role model for Indigenous performers?
David: I hope so. No matter what we do or how we do it being an Aboriginal artist you automatically become a role model to someone out there and I like that I am helping by inspiring them.
Blanch: What would you say to any up and coming Indigenous performers?
David: Be proud of who you are and what you can give. Get your stuff happening and put it out there cause if it makes you happy that’s a good sign.
Blanch: Are you working on anything at the moment?
David: Yes working with my darling brother on a project for the QLD Art Gallery. A performing drama theatre installation called KIN. Also I am still very much a part of Bangarra Dance Theatre. I hopefully will be appearing in a theatre production early next year. I love theatre hey!
David Page’s latest project is Kanyini, a documentary by Melanie Hogan on the life of Bob Randall, an Aboriginal elder who lives beside Uluru. David has composed the score for the film which explores why Indigenous people are now struggling in a modern world – what could be seen to be a clash of civilizations – Indigenous wisdom versus European materialism. The film is currently in release nationally to critical acclaim.
Blanch Lake is the Aboriginal Information/Liason Officer at the Arts Law Centre of Australia.