The Birth and Death of Stars

Producer: Critical Stages Touring and Human Symphony
Writer: Pauline Maudy
Directed By: Benjamin Knapton

A world music spectacular that will take you to the stars.


World music favourites MZAZA have created a theatrical musical experience like no other – The Birth and Death of Stars. After successful national and international tours, these warm and consummate performers return with a show that invites audiences to leave the daily world behind to contemplate our magical place in the universe.

Based on the album of the same name, The Birth and Death of Stars draws inspiration from history’s philosophers and astronomers, leading us on a surreal voyage through the ether to explore what links us to each other and the world around us in ways that are poetic, moving and at times funny.

Sitting comfortably between music and theatre, the show is brought to the stage by a powerful collaboration of creative minds featuring director Benjamin Knapton, Finnish animator Laura Matikainen, writer Pauline Maudy and design consultant Alison Ross.

Led by enchanting French vocalist Pauline Maudy, this group of outstanding musicians and songwriters from around the world will mesmerise you with inspired performances on accordion, violin, shah kaman, percussion, double-bass and guitar.

Take a step away from the everyday and contemplate our place in the universe to the sounds of some of Australia’s most uniquely diverse musicians and composers.

Short Reviews

★★★★ A world where the past is ever-present and music knows no borders.
Courier Mail
MZAZA have been a real revelation … They are just amazing!
SBS Radio
A magic-carpet ride spanning seven continents, six languages, at least fifteen centuries, and a dozen or so musical and poetic traditions.
Weekend Notes


Technical Information

Touring Party: 8
Bump-in Time: 8 hrs
Bump-out Time: 2 hrs
Interval: No


his production is designed to fit into most venue standard lighting rigs with only minor changes and additions of specials.

At minimum The Birth and Death of Stars requires an open white overhead and face light wash of the entire stage, RGBW LED backlight or overhead, seven FOH profile specials for musicians (see diagram above), one haze machine. 4-8 moving lights are an excellent addition if the venue has moving lights.

Consideration should be taken so as not to wash out the projected image on the upstage projection Cyc or screen.


TBC – venue’s lighting operator and lighting desk preferable. LX cue sheet will be provided.

Presenter to Supply:

  • All lanterns. Venue stock adaptations can be made in consultation with MZAZA.
  • Gels
  • Control of all fixtures from the standard venue lighting console
  • One hazer capable of supplying a controlled amount of haze. DMX control preferable
  • House Light control from control position, control through lighting console preferable
  • Suitable blue work light in side wings and upstage crossover (must not spill onto stage)
  • All venue lighting equipment to be rigged, coloured and flashed prior to company’s arrival unless negotiated otherwise.

View a low res video of the lighting design for The Birth and Death of Stars at the Tivoli:


Company to Supply:

  • 6 x wireless in-ear monitoring belt packs and associated antennae etc.
  • Small digital console for FOH and monitors along with a stage rack.
  • 5 x mics for VOX

Company to Supply for Instruments:

  • Cajon – Mic supplied
  • Darabuka – Mic supplied
  • Tapan – Wireless instrument clip on mic preferable, or we supply a mic and venue supplies 1x Short stand
  • Cymbals – Mic supplied (no stand required)
  • Accordion – Mic Supplied (Requires DI)
  • Guitar – Mic supplied
  • Violin – Mic supplied
  • Shah Kaman – DPA 4099 Shure 98 (MZAZA has alterative if no wireless required)
  • Double Bass – Mic supplied

Presenter to Supply:

  • 1 x Short Boom Stand (or 2 stands if the mic for the Tapan is supplied by Company)
  • 5 x Tall Boom Stand
  • DPA 4099 Shure 98 – alternative available if no wireless required



Minimum 6m wide x 5m deep.
Ideally 8.5m wide x 7m deep.

  • Bare clean stage with black legs and borders.
  • 6 x musicians positioned on stage with accompanying sound equipment
  • White Cyc upstage of musicians for front or rear projection. Optimally this will fill the entire back wall with masking to the projected image.
  • House Curtain (downstage) – optional
  • Scrim (scrim directly behind of the house curtain) – optional
  • 1 x chair with no arms for accordion player
  • 3 x small step risers supplied by MZAZA

Audience & Marketing Notes

Primary ticket buyers are women 35+
Attendees often come to the show with friends or a partner.

The show appeals to audiences who:
• Have attended world music events in the past
• Enjoy folk music
• Travel
• Are curious about other cultures
• Come from CaLD backgrounds
• Have an interest in French language and culture
• Enjoy theatrical shows
• Have an interest in new music

It also appeals to schools with language and music programs.

Selling Points

  • This is an excellent work to generate new audiences, with over 35% of previous ticket holders from the last tour being new to a world music event.
  • Great alignment with multi-cultural and French culture festivals.
  • Excellent music education links, plus a very experience music education team that can deliver programs from young people through to professionals seeking development.

Community Engagement

  • Workshop: World music singing for all levels (can include French, Ladino and Bulgarian material)
  • Workshop: World music for instrumentalists
  • Workshop: Musical collaboration and song development
  • Workshop: Storytelling: explore your ancestry with MZAZA
  • Schools: Interactive performances for large audiences - involve the whole school!
  • Schools: Vocal or instrumental workshop (can include performance outcomes)
  • Professional Development: workshops for emerging artists and cultural workers
  • Professional Development: One on one mentoring (music, performance, community engagement or arts career coaching)
  • Education Kit




Venue Format

Theatre, Civic/Cultural Centre, Black Box, Arena, Outdoor Stages at Night


70 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: $43,265

Weekly Sell Off: $25,900

Per Performance: $12,000 - 17,000

Royalties: 15%
Apra Obligations: N/A

Related Performances

Can the Kumbayas, throw on Queen B and spark more than just the fire.

An exhilarating and fierce revenge fairy tale, reinterpreted by Australia’s next generation of First Nations theatre makers.

A moving circus show that celebrates what it means to be First People - The lifeblood of this country.

A beautiful, heartbreaking play of the Indigenous Gothic genre providing spiritual reprieve through Creation Stories.

She has many names: Girl Flu, Lady Curse, Aunty Flo… But all good things must come to an end.

A First Nations Creation Story presented like never before

An all original music revue featuring high energy choreography, bold harmonies and unyielding character.

A bold, unflinching study of the modern world.

A humorous theatrical celebration of community’s shared history. Locals stories are collected and then performed back in a comedy puppet 'info-night'.

Award-winning trans show with a recipe for reclamation

An interactive anti-tradegy

An unpredictable adventure about a toy rabbit who becomes real. An interactive, inventive and poetic interpretation of a timeless classic.


Class, privilege, and pride collide in Gary Owen’s explosive reimagining of the classic Greek myth.

A fantastical new story about finding your voice and saving the world.

Utterly dysfunctional siblings (and total rock gods) Otto & Astrid are back from Berlin in this riotous and razor-sharp satire of culture wars.

Turn up the LOLS to 11 with Make Some Noise!, the brand-new musical comedy show by The Listies

An inspiring puppetry-led story of discovery and connection for young people 7+

A dark, absurd comedy for anyone who's ever tried to fit in. Sometimes you just have to go and shuck yourself.

Erupting on onstage like an action-packed graphic-novel fiction fantasy, Moth is a visceral scream to the Gods of injustice.

Three Hilarious Mamas. One rocking show.

A magical live stage adaptation of Alison Lester’s international best selling children's book Imagine.

NEWK tells the story of Australian tennis legend John Newcombe starring Damian Callinan

‘Simply BRILL’ pay homage to some of the most popular 20th century hits & their teenage songwriters.

Le Coup (from the French word to hit) is a neo-vaudeville speakeasy, where it’s fight night at the circus.

Sassy, skilled and funny AF!


A biological-musical-comedy-adventure — through the human digestive system!

An intergalactic roaming act featuring giant puppets from outer space.

A giant inflatable installation celebrating voices from the frontlines of gender.

A hilarious, dazzling, award-nominated comedy-cabaret about resilience, longevity and celebrating your inner queen.

An exploration of the immigrant experience in Australia told through a Samoan adaptation of Antigone

Wild, wet and playful, it’s circus and comedy for everyone!

An exception solo performance choreographed using a variety of physical genres that shines focus on the bushfires of 2019 and 2020

A poem for every day. A story for every stage.

An award-winning new play that's both deeply personal and ripped-from-the-headlines

6 performers recreate the 12 moments of theatre that changed their lives.

Taking the Waters is a visually stunning work puppetry and performance work for adults exploring the role of caring.

A whimsical and life affirming family adventure about courage, wisdom and what we can achieve when we work together.

Larrikin humour, high-flying acrobatics, and a ripper night of comedy and circus.

A fun-filled journey into the spooky dark and beyond!

One Hour. One Idiot. All of Greek Mythology.

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

Only Players is an ode to the English Teacher

It’s the one-woman cabaret that was meant to save the world from climate change. It didn’t, but it just might save us from ourselves.

Feathers will fly

A drama examining the power relationships of the audition process and what it means to seek asylum.

An explosive post-apocalyptic circus show with live rock music

A breathtaking solo performance about queer love, hope and despair.

s.o.l.o depicts a life in a multi-disciplinary show; circus, multimedia, theatre and spoken word

Hear the tales of 1001 Nights woven through Rimsky-Korsakov's epic work Scheherazade!

Turn your cycle to HOT as you watch these boys tumble dry.

A queer black-comedy about power, privilege, and high school debating.

Jaw-dropping, heart-stopping circus!

Meditative, beautiful Australian music by an ARIA-nominated pianist/composer.

Obang is a theatre for babies 6 to 16 months

A raucous and rowdy filled happy hour with incredible music, Yakult shots and outrageously funny cabaret.