For a strictly limited season, Ian Gerrard has literally bet his house on bringing 3 Weeks In Spring, his musical based on the ANZAC history, to the stage.

Obviously a labour of love, and performed by a huge cast of 35 Australian actors and 10 musicians, 3 Weeks in Spring it is set during the Gallipoli campaign of April 1915. The musical explores the themes of mateship, courage and sacrifice, unlikely heroes, love and loss, following the soldiers – and the loved ones they left behind.

‘Narrated’ by C.E.W. Bean, the Australian World War I correspondent and historian, the musical occupies its story with Private John Simpson Kirkpatrick, better known as ‘Simpson and his donkey,” concentrating on the time he arrived in Turkey to the time he died. Simpson became famous as a stretcher-bearer, as he braved “the hottest shrapnel” and used a donkey to transport wounded men from Shrapnel Gully to Anzac Cove.

Directed by Linda Aubrecht (Disney on Ice, We Will Rock You), the cast includes Lincoln Elliot (Ned, Funny Girl, Carrie: The Musical), Lachlan O’Brien (Chicago, Good Omens), Matthew Herne (Phantom of the Opera), Courtney Powell (Central Park – The Musical) and Isabel Young (The Sound of Music).

With music by Russell Tredinnick, the score is both soaring and toe tapping. As a pre-empt, the soundtrack album was released on ANZAC Day this year, and has received favourable reviews. It’s Lloyd-Webber in its reach, being a double album comprising 34 songs, running over 1 hour and 50 minutes.

While creating a musical about the ANZACs might be seen to exploit the tenacity and sacrifice made by the Diggers, the production company appears to be mitigating criticism by donating 10% of every ticket and album sold to the Australian War Memorial’s Anzac Foundation.

While the timing of the staging might seem odd, being so far from ANZAC Day itself, the practical considerations of venue availability (an ongoing challenge in Sydney) insist on the August dates. Ian Gerrard as the creator and writer of the musical, who shares a birthday with ANZAC Day, believes it to be an important story that must continue to be retold, recently saying, “I am so passionate about telling it in a new and really emotionally impactful way that I have fully self-funded this production. It’s a risk, but it’s worth it to share the show with the Australian public and beyond.”

Ian insists that he’s ever mindful to ensure the subject matter is treated with sensitivity and respect. “There was heroism and humour in equal measure in the trenches and on the home front, and we’re showcasing both to create a real musical experience,” he added.

Following success in Sydney, the company hopes to tour the production nationally and internationally.

3 Weeks in Spring: State Theatre 13th – 17th August   
Premium: $99.90
Premium concession and group price: $94.90
A Reserve: $89.90
A Reserve concession and group price: $84.90
B Reserve: $79.90
B Reserve concession and group price: $74.90
Note: Handling and other fees may apply
Soundtrack: $25 (plus postage and packaging) www.3weeksinspring.com/album