J E N N A   R O B E R T S O N
Soprano    |    Artist/Performance Maker    |    Arts Leader



Spirit Orphan is a contemporary chamber opera in development responding to bushfire and evacuations in the Gold Coast Hinterland in 2019.


Beyond experience of danger and displacement, Spirit Orphan is the story of Scottish migrant and Gold Coast Hinterland resident Jenna Robertson’s recovery from bushfire. A night alone in an evacuation centre creates questions of connection to place and provokes a deep exploration of her migrant identity and ancestry in relationship to Australia’s colonial history. 


A site-responsive and community-engaged work for solo soprano, chamber ensemble and chorus, Spirit Orphan is a moving work that invites questions about our origins, decolonisation and connection to place.

Spirit Orphan Creative Team


  • Susan Rallings, Making Good Alliance

  • Lower Beechmont and Beechmont community

  • Aunty Dr Mary Graham, Yugambeh Elder

  • Lesley Aitchison, family ancestry research

Second Stage Development - Opening Scene, Feb-June 2021

Second Stage Development scope includes development of the opening scene of the work, three programmed performances at Festivals from March-May, a development week at HOTA and an industry showing. Second Stage Team:

  • Creator & Performer - Jenna Robertson

  • Composer & Sound Artist - Dr. Corrina Bonshek

  • Director & Dramaturg - Heather Fairbairn

  • Libretto - Jenna Robertson, Heather Fairbairn, Alexandra Dunn & Community

  • Collaborator (Live Film) Salvador Cantellano

Second Stage Development is supported by Opera Queensland, Queensland Music Festival, Brisbane Music Festival, World Science Festival Brisbane and Home of the Arts, Gold Coast.

First Stage Development - Music Development #1, August-October 2020

First Stage scope included development of initial music for the work. First Stage Team:

  • Creator and Performer - Jenna Robertson

  • Composer and Sound Artist - Corrina Bonshek

  • Libretto - Jenna Robertson, Alexandra Dunn and Community

  • Musical Director - Adrian Head

  • Singers - Alison Paris, Talia Garrett-Benson, Regan Flor, Jacque Prior

  • Filmmaker - Salvador Cantellano

  • Audio Engineer - Geoff McGahan

First Stage residency with Corrina Bonshek was made possible by the Australian Government through Arts Queensland.


Research & Development, Generate GC, Nov 2019-August 2020

The concept for Spirit Orphan was created through Jenna's place as an Artist on the Generate GC program.  Generate GC is a program for exceptional artists to develop new works.  Generate GC is a City of Gold Coast initiative delivered in partnership with the internationally acclaimed program Situate - Art in Festivals. 

R&D Mentors through Generate GC:

  • Emma Porteus - Artistic Director, TasDance & Situate - Art in Festivals (Generate GC)

  • Liesel Zink - Choreography & Dramaturgy

  • Sam Creyton - Arts & Culture, City of Gold Coast

  • Anna Young - Producer, Generate GC

R&D period was supported by Situate and City of Gold Coast.

To go back to Projects page click here.

© 2021 Jenna Robertson

  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Instagram Social Icon
  • Twitter Social Icon
  • YouTube Social  Icon