A NOTE FROM THE COMPOSER

“Why musicians travelling in the footsteps of soldiers 100 years ago? If we could go back in time and say to those on the battlefields “guess what happens here in 100 years” – would they believe us? If we said the same thing to those fighting now, would they believe us? Would we believe ourselves? We now wage war on our own species. But even at our worst, humanity and empathy continue to survive. Our story culminates in acts of kindness: soldiers from opposing sides, ‘enemies’, offering each other water, a cigarette, a shoulder to lean on. Even – incredibly – in what is surely one of the most bizarre and dangerous inventions of the human mind: a place called no man’s land.”

John Psathas - Composer

 

 
 

STORIES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

It was a pleasure to sing for the wonderful film.  As many Indian soldiers participated in the war it was decided that my part would be live recorded at the magnificent Fort of Gwalior. Coincidentally I got an invitation to an exhibition of WWI. The heartrending pictures of death and destruction and of the warriors from all over the world including India gave me the food for thought of what I should...
— Meeta Pandit
Surely I can speak for many of the musicians involved in the “No Man’s Land” project in saying that this was a powerful musical and personal experience that is not easily put into words. I’m quite sure the number of goose bumps experienced by players and audience alike far outnumbered the thousands of notes and breaths we recorded. I believe we all shared the feeling...
— Hayden Chisholm
With No No Man’s Land John invited me to sing in my mother tongue, Armenian, to some incredibly arranged world music and be a part of this huge cast of musicians and singers in this epic production. The project is a very moving diatribe of artists being lost in the epic wisdom of peace after world wars that have ravaged their peoples and cultures. John had me sing on the dunes of Muriwai...
— Serj Tankian
No Man’s Land was a modern day testament of hope for humanity. This musical odyssey explored the themes of conflict and crisis through the voices of some of the world’s most incredible musical voices. John Psathas’ composition created a frame for the wide range of voices and styles that represented the many peoples who had been touched by the war. In bringing them together...
— Shelagh Magadza / Director / NZ Festival
Every time that John Psathas asks you to work with him in a project, you firstly have to say yes and secondly ask what is this about. That is because you are sure from the very beginning that you are going to deal with something of a great artistic depth. But no matter how well you know him and his music, I think that none of us could really imagine how powerful would be the experience...
— Sofia Labropoulou
Park Road was approached by John and the other filmmakers to join this project early on in it’s development.  They had travelled to some of the locations around the world and played us down some of the footage while explaining the concept and their vision. We immediately felt it was a fitting project to commemorate the significance of WWI and did not hesitate to commit...
— Park Road Post
Something incredible in the common voice of music, is that, without even knowing we can break down walls, social and religious boundaries, and expectations, we can break down and strip away negative feelings and emotions, and we can for a brief moment embrace and enjoy the uniqueness of what makes us human. Our spiritual greater meaning and or understanding...
— Iraia Whakomoe
No Man’s Land was an incredible piece of work to have at our venue and in our city.  Our vision at Baycourt is to create a programme of diverse events for our community and this production certainly fit the bill.  The talent and level of experience from all involved was outstanding and every person I spoke to who saw the production was speechless as well as incredibly moved.  I would highly recommend...
— Megan Peacock Coyle / Manager / Baycourt Theatre
In 2015 we were on tour in Denmark when John sent us an email to propose to us to participate in his film No man’s land. After reading the email we had a small Skype and agreed to cut our tour for 2 days and take a flight back to Paris to record and film in the same day. The idea of the film has touched us as we are Syrian-Palestinian who lived the war. To see all these musicians...
— Refugees of Rap
I will never forgot the experiences I had filming this project, from being in the largest First World War graveyard at Verdun at 3am spending all night surrounded by hundreds of thousands of gravesites as we were filming time-lapse of the stars turning over these eerie graves, or the culmination of our journey across Europe as the numbers of battlefield dead rose to incomprehensible...
— Matthew Knight / Cinematographer
With its premiere in the New Zealand Festival, and Auckland Festival of the Arts, and presumption at WOMAD New Zealand, provided a strong base from which Tour-Makers extended the audience for the work into regional New Zealand. No Man’s Land was highly original, professionally presented and very well received by audiences. The combination of visuals and live performance created...
— Drew James / Senior Producer / Tour-Makers
We arrived at dawn and were left to walk around the outside of Fort de Dououmont and soak up the scene as the sun rose. I imagined waking up there day after day waiting for the enemy or indeed battling them, and how that must have felt. Being cold and wet and hungry day after day after day... Once we got inside the fort it was damp, dark and had a very solemn vibe...
— Ryan Prebble

 full testimonials here

 
 

READ THE LIVE SHOW REVIEWS

…I just want to say the experience is still so ‘present’ and it is a wonderful work. The capacity/willingness of the onstage performers to be present, to be inside this work was just beautiful to experience. There is something curious about the transporting or transcending element within music that is possible that you gave us. You were able to touch the place of ‘telling’ what you were ‘hearing’ in the ‘place’ that was linking you all. Finally, you reminded me there are many ways tomake a stand for peace and unity. Embodying it through music is a powerful one.
— Audience member 12th March 2016
I can barely begin to tell you what an incredible experience you have created. I loved every note - every image - every part of the story you told. The way the musicians created family through their universal language of music took my breath away. I was moved and mesmerized in a way I haven’t been for so very long.
— Audience member 8th March 2016
The capacity/willingness of the on stage performers to be present, to be inside this work was just beautiful to experience. There is something curious about the transporting or transcending element within music that is possible that you gave us. You were able to touch the place of ‘telling’ what you were ‘hearing’ in the ‘place’ that was linking you all. Finally, you reminded me there are many ways to make a stand for peace and unity. Embodying it through music is a powerful one.
— Audience member 19th March 2016
Amazing No man’s land show tonight!!! Truly inspiring! So moved by the whole experience... so much emotion framed by very beautiful music... Thank you for your vision and for your commitment to bring it to life. I know you have an amazing team who made it all possible! Great people! Big thanks and lots of love to all of them!
— Audience member 4th March 2016

 

                  

Where to now? Meet the Community here!