Symphonie de la Bicyclette

Producer: Brink Productions
Writer: Hew Parham
Directed By: Chris Drummond

Life is short, but the tour is long … and hilariously painful!


A funny, heartfelt one-man show about cycling and obsession, envy and ambition, winning and losing, and finding the inner grit to dominate the mountain stages of life.

Hew is a passionate wannabe cyclist. Stuck in a cycle of dead-end jobs and missed opportunities he has long harboured a pathological envy of his successful high school friend [now professional cyclist] Jake.

Hew’s story is told in parallel with that of the great Gino Bartali, winner of the Tour de France in 1938 and 1948, who, in WWII, risked his life to save Jewish people in Northern Italy by secretly transporting documents in his bicycle.

The combination of these stories creates an absurdly hysterical, yet ultimately moving portrait of the quest for glory and heroism.

Short Reviews

★★★★ In Parham’s hands, cycling is an effective vehicle for discussing modern masculinity in all its manifestations: Gino’s selfless heroism, Gavin’s mission to transform his pupil to a hardened winner, and Hew’s realisation that the relationships he forms along the way are more fulfilling than any race victory. The progress of Hew and Gavin’s friendship, in particular, was unexpectedly moving. Symphonie de la Bicyclette will naturally appeal to cycling fanatics (Parham’s collective noun for such a group is a ‘moisture’), but even those who’ve never been tempted to slip on a Lycra jersey would find plenty to relate to in this very human story.
Arts Hub
This show is captivating, the plot slipping briskly between the dual protagonists with exceptional timing, keeping the momentum of both narratives pumping along. While Parham’s remarkable skills in comedy and physical theatre are on full display for the entire 90 minutes, there are deeper themes at work. His writing is equally impressive, managing to explore the idea of heroism and the pitfalls of modern masculinity using the unlikely vehicle of two cyclists separated by temperament, geography and almost 70 years. Symphonie de la Bicyclette is a shining example of the way polished stagecraft, inventive sound and lighting, and emotionally astute writing can combine to tell an intricate story in an utterly compelling way.
★★★★★ Yes, Symphonie de la Bicyclette is about cycling. But, more than that, it is a meditation on being human and having integrity. It is also extremely funny, poignant, emotionally raw and richly entertaining.
Glam Magazine


Additional Videos

Technical Information

Touring Party: 4
Bump-in Time: 8 hrs
Bump-out Time: 3 hrs
Interval: No


Company to Provide:

  • 1 x Vista S1 Console 2048ch + sACN nodes
  • 4 x Robe Esprite LED Profile

Venue to Provide:

  • All lights and equipment as per the lighting plan
  • MDG Hazer
  • All dropdown rigging as per the lighting plan.
  • All cabling as required


Company to Provide:

  • Q-LAB V4 playback machine
  • Audio Interface
  • DPA 4061 Capsule + Sennheiser Micro Dot adaptors
  • Elastic belt for belt pack transmitter

Venue to Provide:

  • Digital Sound Console
  • FOH PA of L/R and SUB (if there is a Centre cluster as standard we will use)
  • Front fill speakers as required
  • 4 x Fold back speakers (side fill Downstage and Upstage as separate sends)
  • 1 x Sennheiser Radio Mic + Belt pack
  • Comms
  • All cabling as required


Venue to Provide:

  • Minimum stage size of 8m wide x 6m deep
  • All masking as per plan
  • All rigging as per plan

Crew Notes

Company to Provide:

  • 1 x Stage Manager
  • 1 x Lighting Operator
  • 1 x Production Manager/Sound Operator

Venue to Provide:

  • 1 x Venue Technician (if not multiskilled will need separate crew)

Transport Notes

Set/production can travel by plane.

3 or 5-tonne + 5-seater station wagon or SUV

Audience & Marketing Notes

This show has wide appeal to theatre, cycling, sports, history and comedy lovers. Blending two compelling narratives, one true and heroic, the other fictional and hilarious, it is highly accessible storytelling and inventive theatricality. Playing nearly 30 characters, Hew Parham masterfully builds audience rapport, climaxing in a spectacular bike race that fuses the 1948 Tour de France with a community bike race in Australia. This is magical and epic theatre-making that has enthralled audiences

Selling Points

  • Symphonie de la Bicyclette has strong appeal to cycling enthusiasts, riders and club members. Approx 4.6 million Australians cycle regularly with 75% of those being male. This show attracts that demographic. Marketing opportunities exist with cycling clubs and other health/fitness institutions. Men’s sheds and other male orientated organisations, may also have members interested.
  • A tour-de-force performance. Hew Parham plays nearly 30 characters, both historical and fictional, and the wizardry of his acting, the speed and accuracy of his character transformations [with lightning-fast accent changes], the wonder of his comedic and emotional range, along with his open-hearted warmth as a performer, has astonished and delighted audiences. Marketing opportunities exist with Italian + French clubs or the History Trust who may have an interest in the historical and geographical aspects of the show.
  • First class storytelling. This show tells two big stories incredibly well. It is brilliantly written, brimming with snappy dialogue and beautiful words. And it has a strong plot that carries the audiences on a great adventure with lots of historical references that is at times hilarious and absurd, and at other times heart-breaking and profound. This show is a perfect fit for high schools and could easily be incorporated into the drama curriculum. Teacher’s Notes have already been written and are available.

Community Engagement

  • We can negotiate a daytime devising/clowning workshop for schools with Hew Parham on a one-show day.

Content Warning

Occasional strong language





0416 144 179



Venue Format

Proscenium Arch, Black Box


90mins Minutes

Available Until (from - to)



Budget & Fees

What are these? Find out more.

In Development - work which will be produced and premiered in time for touring during 2022/2023. Please contact the Producer directly for Budgets and Fees.

Remount: $34,500

Weekly Sell Off: $18,000

Per Performance: $0

Royalties: 14.5%
Apra Obligations: Extensive licensing arranged by Brink and included in the weekly fee

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