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You don’t know him,
but he may have saved your life



Dramaturgy by Simon Phillips and Anika Chapin

Produced by Grey Gum Productions and Tinderbox Productions

BLACK BOX is Queenslander Paul Hodge’s ground-breaking new musical based on the extraordinary true story of David Warren, the Australian inventor who created the black box flight recorder that is now on every plane around the globe, and it will have its world premiere at QPAC’s Cremorne Theatre this May.

Driven by the death of his father in an unexplained plane crash when he was eight, BLACK BOX follows David as he fights for an invention that could record the final moments of a flight before it crashes – the black box. His obsession around this invention places his career, marriage and mind at risk. It’s a show about memory, and how we hold onto, and let go of, those we love.

BLACK BOX writer and composer, Paul Hodge, said, “David’s invention was inspired by his love of music. I wanted to create a theatre form that was as inventive as David’s idea, which led to the use of recorded voices and music, in the same way the black box gives recordings, to immerse the audience in David’s sound world.”

Black box inventor David Warren will be played by internationally renowned singer and actor Michael Cormick, who has had leading roles around the world, including in Phantom of the Opera and Beauty and the Beast with Hugh Jackman. David’s wife, Ruth, will be played by Helpmann Award winner Helen Dallimore who as well as touring extensively throughout the UK and Australia was the original Glinda opposite Idina Menzel in the West End production of Wicked.

The auditory world that inspired David to create his life-saving invention shapes the audience’s experience at BLACK BOX, which utilises pre-recorded voices and instruments to create a world of music and memory to tell his story. While Helen and Michael are on stage, the rest of the cast are present through a history-making audio experience. BLACK BOX is the first binaural musical with audience members wearing headphones that allow them to be totally immersed in a 360-degree world of sound. Binaural recording uses two microphones, arranged at the position of human ears to create a 3D stereo sound sensation for the listener of actually being in the room with the recorded actors and instruments. This world-premiere production will be directed by David Berthold.




Cremorne Theatre, QPAC
10 – 19 May
Bookings: QPAC





Michael Cormick

Michael Cormick is an internationally renowned singer and actor who has performed throughout Australia, the United Kingdom and Europe.

Michael’s extensive, award winning theatre credits include: Beauty and the Beast (The Beast), The Phantom of the Opera, which he has performed on 3 separate occasions (playing The Phantom, Raoul and, more recently - for Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour - Monsieur Firmin), Cats (Munkustrap), Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat (Pharoah), Grease (Kenickie), Sunset Boulevard (Joe Gillis), End of The Rainbow (Mickey Deans), The Rocky Horror Show (Eddie/Dr. Scott), Mamma Mia! (Sam), Annie (Daddy Warbucks), Next to Normal (Dr Madden), Blood Brothers (The Narrator), Falsettos (Whizzer), Eureka (Commissioner Grey), Into the Woods (Rapunzel’s Prince), Nine (Guido), Cabaret (Ernst Ludwig), Jesus Christ Superstar (Pilate), The Pirates of Penzance (Pirate King), Calamity Jane (Wild Bill Hickok), Romeo & Juliet (The Prince), Chess (The Arbitor), Evita (Che), Time (The Rockstar), The Woman in White and La Cage Aux Folles (Georges).

Whilst living in London, he had the incredible opportunity to sing with Freddie Mercury and Cliff Richard, and has also performed in concerts in Rome, Paris, Edinburgh, Beirut and Cyprus.

As a special guest, Michael has sung at The Melbourne Cup, AFL Grand Final, Rugby League Grand Final, the official opening of Stadium Australia and at The Royal Albert Hall - London. He has also had the honour of performing for Her Majesty the Queen.

Michael’s television credits include: Doctor Blake, Reef Doctors, Sea Patrol, City Homicide, Prisoner, Superwog, Bluebird and, most recently, The Last King of the Cross for Paramount Plus.

Helen Dallimore

Helen has enjoyed a successful career in theatre, musicals, film, and television. She created the role of Glinda in the West End production of Wicked opposite Idina Menzel and played Cinderella in the acclaimed Regent’s Park production of Into the Woods. Helen is renowned for her performance as Olivia O’Neill in Channel Nine’s Here Come the Habibs.

Theatre credits include Girl from the North Country, End of the Rainbow, Muriel’s Wedding the Musical, Pentecost, Up For Grabs, The Hanging Man, Harbour, The Republic of Myopia, The Unlikely Prospect of Happiness, Spring Awakening, The Wharf Revue for Sydney Theatre Company, as well as Tartuffe for Bell Shakespeare, Masquerade for Griffin, Cruise Control and The Plant for The Ensemble. Feature film credits include Two Heads Creek, Mr Accident, Russian Doll, Tempe Tip, The Sugar Factory and Mother’s Milk. TV credits include Hardball, True Story with Hamish and Andy, Secret Bridesmaid’s Business, Little Oberon, A Moody Christmas, The Moodys, Wonderland, Home and Away and House Husbands.

Concert performances include Defying Gravity - The Songs of Stephen Shwartz for Enda Markey Presents and Witches with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Helen won a Helpmann Award for her performance in Legally Blonde the Musical and was nominated for a Best Actress in a musical for Blood Brothers. Helen’s is also a writer/director, with screenwriting credits on Here Come the Habibs (channel 9) and Sando (ABC). Theatre directing credits include A Life in the Theatre High Society, Half Time, The Fantasticks, and Everybody loves Lucy.






Producer, Book, Music & Lyrics

Paul Hodge

Paul Hodge is an award-winning writer-composer from Brisbane. Paul’s work has been produced Off-Broadway, in London, Edinburgh and Australia, including at the Sydney Opera House. Paul most recently wrote the opening number for the G’Day USA Gala in Los Angeles, hosted by G Flip. Paul has written and composed the musical adaptation of the iconic children’s TV show Round The Twist which will have its world premiere at QPAC in November 2024. Round The Twist was produced by the Australian Children’s Television Foundation, premiered on the BBC and has aired in over 70 countries over 30 years, including on the Disney Channel in Europe and Fox Kids in the US. The musical adaptation is directed by Simon Phillips (Muriel’s Wedding, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Love Never Dies). With Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg, the Academy Award-nominated and Tony Award-winning writers of Les Miserables and Miss Saigon, Paul is a co-lyricist of Martin Guerre, slated to premiere in London. Paul’s new musical The Great Emu War, co-written with Cal Silberstein, featured in the 2023 Festival of New Musicals at Goodspeed in Connecticut. Residencies include at Theater Latté Da, Minneapolis, the inaugural Vanguard Arts Project at Olney Theatre Center, Maryland, and the prestigious Ground Floor Residency at the Tony Award-winning Berkeley Rep in California, with acclaimed playwright and screenwriter Naomi Izuka to develop their new musical Okuni. Paul was commissioned to write the five-time Matilda Award-nominated musical comedy Joh for P.M., starring Lano and Woodley’s Colin Lane. He was commissioned by Opera Queensland and La Boite Theatre to compose the opera Riot with award-winning playwright and screenwriter Michelle Law. His musical comedy, Clinton, received a New York Times Critics’ Pick, nominations for Best Musical from the Off-Broadway Alliance and Edinburgh Festival Fringe and won Best Production in the Performing Arts WA Awards and Best Off-Broadway Cast Album in the Broadway World Awards. It was led by Tony-nominated director Dan Knechtges, and featured Tony Award-nominee Kerry Butler and Emmy Winner Judy Gold. Paul completed his PhD in Music Composition and Bachelor of Music in Classical Voice at the University of Queensland, receiving a University Medal and 2023 Young Alumni Award. He also completed a Master of Arts in Music Theatre Performance at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. He received a Brisbane Young and Emerging Artist Fellowship and the Dame Joan Sutherland Fund Award for further study in the USA.


Liza McLean

Executive Producer

Liza McLean

Liza McLean has dedicated her career to the entertainment industry in Australia and overseas, working for and collaborating with extraordinary Producers, Directors and some of worlds’ finest actors, singers and artists. Most recently Liza Co Created, Produced and Directed David Suchet, Poirot & More A Retrospective. Company Director and Producer for Tinderbox Productions, credits include The Last Confession, Little Shop of Horrors and Sweet Charity. For Kay and McLean Productions, North By North West, The Graduate and The Bridge Project’s Richard III. In 2017 Liza produced her greatest achievement, the birth of her long-awaited son, Javier Bear Gumbleton McLean who is her inspiration and muse.




David Berthold

David Berthold is one of Australia's most prominent theatre directors and cultural leaders. As a theatre director, he has directed for most of Australia's major theatres companies, as well as in London’s West End and Berlin. As an artistic director, he has led transformational changes at several significant arts organisations.

He was Artistic Director of Brisbane Festival (2015-19), Queensland’s highest attended event, and Artistic Director and CEO of La Boite Theatre Company (2008-14). He has also been Artistic Director and CEO of Griffin Theatre Company, Artistic Director and CEO of Australian Theatre for Young People, and Associate Director of Sydney Theatre Company. He sits on the Board of Australian Plays Transform (APT), is a Trustee of the Rodney Seaborn Playwrights Award, and is a member of the NSW Government's Theatre and Musical Theatre Arts Advisory Board. He recently chaired the judging panel of the Nick Enright Prize for Playwriting (NSW Premier’s Literary Awards).

Since January 2020, David has been Artistic Director in Residence at NIDA, Australia’s premier dramatic arts training institution, where he leads artistic planning and programming and has responsibility for the NIDA Future Centre.

His recent productions include three national tours of the rock concert drama Rolling Thunder Vietnam, the music theatre classic Falsettos, and Monteverdi’s opera The Coronation of Poppea in a new version by the Australian composer Elena Kats-Chernin.



Sound Designer

Daniel Herten

Daniel Herten (He / Him) is a Sound Designer, Composer, Video Designer, and Creative Technologist working across theatre, installation and interactive media. Growing up in Fiji, China and Thailand before traveling to Australia - Daniel collaborates on Bidjigal and Gadigal land to tell stories. His work explores the way audiences interface with storytelling, specifically focusing on how emerging technologies can be integrated in live contexts to enhance the two-way discussion between ourselves and our art. Daniel’s selected credits include: Composition & Sound Design Realiser of The Picture Of Dorian Gray (Sydney Theatre Co), Composer & Sound Designer of The Lewis Trilogy (Griffin Theatre Co), Sound & Video Designer of Let The Right One In (Darlinghurst Theatre Co), Sound Designer of Set Piece (Rising Festival), Composer & Sound Designer of Plenty Of Fish In The Sea (Clockfire Theatre Co), Composer, Sound Designer & co-Video Designer of Collapsible (Essential Workers), Sound Designer of At The End Of The Land (PICA), Composer & Sound Designer of FADE (NTofP), Sound Designer of Murder For Two (Hayes Theatre Co), Sound Designer of Track Works (BellBonTom), Composition & Sound Design Associate of Rules For Living (Sydney Theatre Company), Sound Design Associate of Twelfth Night (Bell Shakespeare), Sound Design Associate of PONY, Sex Magick, Whitefella Yella Tree, Green Park and Wherever She Wanders (Griffin Theatre Co).





Isabel Hudson is an award-winning set designer. Isabel holds a Bachelor of Design from NIDA and a Bachelor of Arts (Screen and Sound) from the University of New South Wales. She is a lecturer at NIDA in Design for Performance.

Design credits include: A FOOL IN LOVE, CONSTELLATIONS, HUBRIS AND HUMILIATION (Sydney Theatre Company); THE MOUSETRAP costume (Crossroads Live); JAILBABY, PONY (Griffin Theatre Company); TORCH THE PLACE set (Melbourne Theatre Company); BLESSED UNION, WINYANBOGA YURRINGA, EVERY BRILLIANT THING (Belvoir); MAUREEN: HARBINGER OF DEATH (Sydney Festival/Rising Festival); YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN set, AMERICAN PSYCHO set, CRY-BABY set (Hayes Theatre Co); FARNACE (Pinchgut Opera); SON (Circa); RISE AND FALL OF LITTLE VOICE (Darlinghurst Theatre Co.); THE SHIFTING HEART, BLACKROCK (Seymour Centre); EDWARD THE EMU (Monkey Baa Theatre); DRY LAND set, SHE RODE HORSES LIKE THE STOCK EXCHANGE (Kings Cross Theatre); KING OF PIGS, EURYDICE (Old Fitz); JESS & JOE FOREVER, (Belvoir 25A); LITTLE BORDERS costume (Old 505 Theatre); CHAMBER POT OPERA (Sydney Opera House, Edinburgh Festival, St Petersburg season); INTERSECTION, JOURNEY’S END (ATYP); THE ROLLING STONE (Outhouse Theatre Co); HURT (HotHouse Theatre & Downstairs Belvoir).

For Global Creatures Isabel is associate set designer for MOULIN ROUGE Australia, Korea and Japan; for Opera Australia, Isabel was assistant designer for MERRY WIDOW and MY FAIR LADY; and for Sydney Theatre Company, she was associate designer on FUN HOME directed by Dean Bryant.

Isabel has won four Sydney Theatre Awards for her outstanding designs; best set design for CONSTELLATIONS, AMERICAN PSYCHO, and CRY-BABY, and best costume design for HUBRIS AND HUMILIATION. She also won an APDG award for best set design for AMERICAN PSYCHO. Nominations include: an APDG Award for best set design, and two more Sydney Theatre Award nominations for best set design.



Lighting Designer

Ben Hughes is a lighting designer for theatre, dance and opera. His designs have appeared on stages both throughout Australia, and internationally. He is Associate Artistic Director of The Danger Ensemble.

Credits include: for Queensland Theatre, THE ALMIGHTY SOMETIMES, THE SUNSHINE CLUB, RETURN TO THE DIRT, BOY SWALLOWS UNIVERSE, TRIPLE X (with Sydney Theatre Company), MOUTHPIECE, ANTIGONE, L’APPARTEMENT, TWELFTH NIGHT; for Sydney Theatre Company, POISON OF POLYGAMY (with La Boite), BLACK IS THE NEW WHITE (and national tour); for Melbourne Theatre Company, 37; for QPAC, JERSEY BOYS (with Prospero Arts), IS THAT YOU RUTHIE? (with Oombarra Productions), BREAKING THE CASTLE; for Opera Queensland, DON GIOVANNI, MOZART AIRBORNE (with Expressions Dance Company and Natalie Weir); for La Boite, IRL, THE LAST FIVE YEARS, AWAY, NAKED AND SCREAMING, THE NEIGHBOURHOOD, FROM DARKNESS; for Brisbane Festival, BANANALAND, SALAMANDER; for Queensland Ballet, STRICTLY GERSHWIN, THE MASTERS SERIES, GISELLE; for Prospero Arts, SINGING IN THE RAIN, WIZARD OF OZ; for Meryl Tankard, TWO FEET (Adelaide Festival and Hong Kong Arts Festival); for Australasian Dance Company, THREE 2.0, FORGERY, AFTERMATH, THE DINNER PARTY (THE HOST); for Dead Puppet Society, Legs on the Wall, Brisbane Festival and Sydney Festival, HOLDING ACHILLES.

Ben has received Australian Production Design Guild Award nominations for MEDEA, TWELFTH NIGHT, and BOY SWALLOWS UNIVERSE; and numerous Matilda Award nominations for Best Lighting Design including for BOY SWALLOWS UNIVERSE, L’APPARTEMENT, SWITZERLAND, GOOD MUSLIM BOY, THE CRUCIBLE, JOHN GABRIEL BORKMAN and MOTHER COURAGE AND HER CHILDREN and for Best Set Design for CALIGULA (co-design).

Ben lectures in lighting design at Queensland University of Technology.




Grey Gum Productions Pty Ltd

Producer – Paul Hodge


Cinnamon Watson Publicity
0432 219 643


BLACK BOX is proudly supported by Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund – an Australian Government initiative, and by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland.