CONCERT pianist David Helfgott has been filling the walls of the old Bendigo Gaol with the sound of music.
As part of an interesting photo shoot to showcase the development of the new theatre, the musician took his seat at a baby grand piano in the middle of the rubble and treated onlookers to an impromptu concert.
Born in Melbourne in 1947, David was a child prodigy who studied at the Royal College of Music in London before suffering from emotional instability and mental excitability that resulted in a period of frequent hospitalisation.
He was later propelled to worldwide fame after the release of the 1996 film Shine, starring Geoffrey Rush, was based on his life.
He was in Bendigo on Saturday with his wife of 29 years, Gillian.
Gillian has been on tour with him across the country since August 2, ahead of a sold out performance at The Capital theatre on Saturday night.
“I was born to play the piano,” David said.
“It has been a love affair all my life. The piano is my best friend.”
“But this is the first time he has played on a construction site,” added Gillian, who first met David in 1983.
“It is great to see such an inspiring project,” she said.
“It is an extraordinary building and is going to attract so many people.”
The photo shoot comes after the concrete was poured this week for the Orchestra Pit of the new state-of-the-art theatre being built at the site of the old Bendigo Gaol.
Organisers hope to capture a photographic story following the building of the new theatre, with snapshots taken with different people to mark each stage of the building process.
“We want to capture the building rising out of the ground,” said Capital marketing manager Anne Henshall, who developed the idea with David Lloyd.
“It was too good a chance to miss with David being here so we organised this photo shoot.
“I would really like to see people from every walk of life and part of the community feature in these images.
“We are all going to have the opportunity to use this space,” she said.
The soon to be named theatre is expected to be opened in 2015.