Melbourne Cup Masthead

I got you Babe: Symphony in the Park

Amanda Whitley

Canberrans love open air cinema during the warmer months, and there’s no better way to round out the season than with Symphony in the Park.

This is no ordinary outdoor screening. Symphony in the Park is set to be a magical experience, with the family classic “Babe” lighting up the silver screen at Stage 88, accompanied by the Canberra Symphony Orchestra (CSO), who will perform live as conducted by renowned Australian musician, composer and conductor, Nigel Westlake.

This will be Babe as you’ve never seen it before. Westlake wrote the soundtrack to the movie in the early 90s and last year, was commissioned to prepare and conduct a new concert version of the score—Babe in Concert.

“The movie soundtrack has been re-mixed to remove all the music and the newly orchestrated score is performed live in synchronisation with the entire film,” he explains.

“It’s wonderful to see the movie given a new lease of life as a concert presentation for film with a live symphony orchestra–It has been a particularly poignant exercise revisiting this heart-warming and beautifully crafted movie after all these years!”

Canberra Symphony Orchestra perform Symphony in the Park at Stage 88. Image: ACT Chief Minister's Department

Canberra Symphony Orchestra perform Symphony in the Park at Stage 88. Image: ACT Chief Minister’s Department

It’s been an emotional experience for Westlake, who says the process brought back memories of composing the music for the film in the garret at the Kennedy Miller production facility in Sydney.

“’An unprejudiced heart can change the established order’ was the premise not only of the Babe story, but also of the film’s production crew, every member of the team aspiring to bring life and magic to a tale we all adored,” he says.

“I was totally enthralled by the quirky, lovable characters and deeply touched by the noble morality of the story. Composing music to footage that had been edited with such innate rhythm and logic was a gift any composer would relish.”

Now Canberra audiences have the chance to experience this magical movie in a completely unique way, with the live orchestra and al fresco setting bringing a new depth to this family classic. For many, Symphony in the Park will be a walk down memory lane; for others, it will be their first viewing of Babe—and what a way to discover this piece of Australian cinematic history!

“People who have seen Babe in Concert have told me that they are just as absorbed by the dramatic narrative and magic of the story as they would be at the cinema, but the experience is infinitely richer due to the warmth and energy of the live orchestra.”

Symphony in the Park starts at 7:30pm this Sunday 13 March—pack a picnic, blanket and popcorn and get along for an incredible night under the stars. It’s free!

Don’t forget Symphony in the Park is just one of the amazing events on during what’s shaping up to be One Wonderful Weekend. There’s something on every day this (long) weekend, kicking off with the Canberra Balloon Spectacular on Saturday, followed by Sunday’s Symphony in The Park and Canberra Day celebrations to round things out on Monday.

the essentials

What: Symphony in the Park, presented by ActewAGL
When: 7:30pm Sunday 13 March 2016
Where: Stage 88, Commonwealth Park
How much: Free
Call: Access Canberra on 13 22 81

Feature image: ACT Chief Minister’s Department


Amanda Whitley

Amanda Whitley is the founder and director of HerCanberra. In her 'spare time', she instructs zumba, loves to cook (and eat), and wrangles two gorgeous little girls. She's done everything from present the tv news to operate a stop and go sign and is passionate about connecting Canberra women. More about the Author

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