Work in development
This work will follow the story of Elsie Williams (neé Carr), an Australian-born singer of Afro-Caribbean descent who had a remarkable singing career in the 1920s & 30s.
Through independent research conducted by Kacey Sinclair and Sista Zai Zanda, we are currently in development with Maxine Beneba Clark and Sarah Giles to bring the story of Elsie's early life, a career with the Fisk Jubilee singers and her work on stage in various JC Williamson productions to the operatic stage.
An excerpt from Kacey Sinclair's research paper:
'Elsie May Carr was born in Bendigo on Saturday, December 21st 1901. Her mother was born in Carlton. Her maternal grandmother was from New Jersey, America, and her grandfather was West Indian. Elsie's father arrived in Australia from the West Indies in the late 1800s.
Her family were members of the local Methodist Church. They lived in a 'snug' - a five-roomed weatherboard dwelling on an acre block along a dirt road south of Bendigo city.'
Elsie first performed in Cairo at Her Majesty's Theatre in Sydney on 16 September 1922.
She died on the 14th of November 1942. She was 41. In creating a work celebrating Elsie and this era of Melbourne's history, we hope to celebrate her life and let her sing again.