Vesalius: a Requiem

a body lies in state on a mortuary table;
in a distant corridor a choir sings Kyrie Eleison

Renaissance anatomy and the Catholic mass for the dead collide in this spectacular piece of choral theatre. Two morticians and a pathologist examine the body of a drowned man. In the process of dissecting the corpse, they begin to re-invent his history. Fragments of text and music weave in the air like incense as the audience is drawn into the clandestine ritual of the autopsy.

Vesalius: A Requiem was first performed in London at the Old Operating Theatre Museum in 1996 and was a winner of a Barclay’s New Stages Award. The show toured to Teatri di Vita, Bologna, in 1998. The June 2010 performance in RiAus, The Science Exchange in Adelaide, was its Australian premiere.

Selected in the ‘Top 10 for 2010 Shows’ by the Arts Editors of The Adelaide Advertiser, December 2010

A witty, charming and unusual evening.
Time Out, London (Critics Choice)

Scholarly, artistic, theatrical, funny, tender.
The Advertiser

Intelligent, uncompromising, and above all, grown-up.
Anthony Steel AM

Presented in association with RiAus
Supported by Arts SA and Choralworks Inc

View a video about Vesalius from ABC’s Stateline program


Music: Richard Chew
Text: Alan Hay, Graeme Rose & Andreas Vesalius
Director: Cheryl Pickering
Lighting and Projection: Nic Mollison
Designers: Bec Francis & Diwani Oak
Production & Stage Manager: Ali O’Connell
Performed by: Graeme Rose, Richard Chew and Philip Griffin
with Jane Ruckert (hurdygurdy and bells)
and The Fabrica Singers
Developed from an original concept by Graeme Rose, Richard Chew and Henk Schut


Audience Feedback

An extraordinary piece of theatre with beautiful music. You certainly create some amazing and unique theatre.
Andrew Turner

Huge congratulations on Vesalius. I thought it was brilliant and it has been with me, like a second layer of skin, since last weekend. Images and voices float in and out tantalisingly!
Sally Francis

I’ll take this opportunity to tell you again how memorable Vesalius is, for the precise direction and design,evocative choral music and fun literary references.
Pat Rix

Congratulations on yet another wonderful, thought-provoking production!
Greg & Jakki Button