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The Red Tree: Creative Learning

Join us for an extraordinary journey to a world of imagination where origami boats take you on an ocean voyage, giant fish host musical interludes, and parades pass you by.

In the Playhouse

“Shaun Tan’s book The Red Tree is a work of brilliance. It is evocative, emotional and unique.”

Neil Gooding - Director

NSW Syllabus Links:

A new musical theatre work, based on the bestselling book by Shaun Tan.

This is the story of a young girl, living inside her bedroom, who doesn’t want to get out of bed. Rise with her as she conquers her fears and anxieties, embraces hope and takes control of the exciting world that has always been around her, acknowledging that it’s okay to feel different.

Adapted from the acclaimed book by Shaun Tan, with script and lyrics by Hilary Bell (Wolf Lullaby) and music by ARIA Award-winning composer Greta Gertler Gold (co writer of The Whitlams’ Blow Up the Pokies and Charlie #3). The score fuses pop, classical and traditional musical theatre elements with sound design and digital recording technology in an exciting, contemporary fashion.

Sydney Opera House presents a National Theatre of Parramatta production

Artist Information

Creative Team

Book and Lyrics Hilary Bell
Music Greta Gertler Gold
Director Neil Gooding
Assistant Director (volunteer) Christie Koppe
Set and Costume Design James Browne
Lighting Design Verity Hampson
Video Media Design Mic Gruchy
Audio Design David Grigg


Additional Sound Design & Musical Arrangements Adam D Gold
Musician ‘Wonderful Things’ Recording Barney McAll
Dramaturg Polly Low
Puppetry Consultant Fiona Gentle
Stage Manager Ruth Horsfall


Ava Nicola Bowman
Musical Director Greta Gertler Gold
Musicians Luke Escombe, Jess Ciampa
Puppeteers Samantha Hickey, Georgia Wohlfiel

NSW Curriculum Links

Author Talk

Shaun Tan Digital Author Talk

Delight your students with this unique opportunity to meet and discuss the themes and inspiration for creating The Red Tree, in a live and interactive author talk.

Find out more

Ticket and Travel Subsidy

The Sydney Opera House is committed to providing the very best national and international performing arts experiences to NSW students as part of their educational studies.

The Sydney Opera House Arts Assist program provides the full cost of the Creative Learning performance ticket and $5 per student toward travel costs. School applications are assessed according to socioeconomic disadvantage, schools with special needs and individual responses regarding the School Profile and School Community.

The Sydney Opera House thanks and acknowledges our generous Arts Assist donors; The Greatorex Foundation and Sydney Opera House Ladies’ Committee.

Frequently Asked Questions

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