NTS | Producer - John R. Sabine

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John R. Sabine

Producer Name
John R. Sabine
  • OLD JACK meets Banjo Paterson
  • OLD JACK's Adventure before Dementia

"OLD JACK: the Aussie Gleeman" is a stage persona for John R. Sabine, Scholar-at-Large (thinker, writer, speaker, actor).

A gleeman is the medieval term describing a wandering story-teller, akin to a minstrel but without the music and who uses poems instead of songs to tell his tales.  Thus Old Jack is best described as "a purveyor of tall tales, short stories and pithy poetry".  As he would tell you - HAVE STORIES, WILL TRAVEL.

John is actually now into his third career: first a scientist and academic, then a business consultant/entrepreneur and now a “Scholar-at-Large” (thinker, writer, speaker, actor).  His recent publications include a major travel memoir, two collections of poetry and a collection of short stories, as well as individual poems, short stories and essays.  His acting activities include stage, film and television work – and of course especially in his unique stage persona, “Old Jack: the Aussie Gleeman”.

Old Jack presents in two modes, the long and the short of it, with being each a collection of (mostly humorous) yarns and poems, predominantly his own work but interspersed with an odd steal, usually modified to suit the occasion, and a sprinkling of home-made philosophy.

First then are his full-length shows, built around an overall story or theme.  The first of these was ADVENTURE BEFORE DEMENTIA, which premiered to mostly full houses at the 2017 Adelaide Fringe Festival.  He is due to repeat the adventure in September 2018 (the Onkaparinga Every-Generation Festival launch) and October, 2018 (Merredin, WA).

A copy of the relevant poster detail is here below:


Whether as a sportsman, scholar, author or actor, John Sabine has packed a lot into his mortal coil over more than 80 years.

Now he wants to tell you about it through his stories and poetry; about being old; about animals (lots of stories about animals) and what it has all meant to him and might mean to you; why fire engines are red and wombats have hairy noses; how old dogs can learn new tricks; what sort of morality Russians can teach us; perhaps even how Tasmania came to be! 

Old Jack, writer, raconteur and rabblerouser, tells it all in a program that will prove as welcomingly warm as it is wonderfully entertaining. Join him before the Adventure is over.

A DVD of the full show is available upon request ($20, incl. postage).

A second show, POWER LINES: WORDS at WORK, rolled out at the 2018 Adelaide Fringe Festival.  A  DVD of this show is also available (another $20).

This production is described as:


Join OLD JACK, the Aussie Gleeman, for your renewable energy – high voltage, low emissions, clean and efficient, ample storage, no blackouts (we all hope).  Explore with him the right word for the right occasion.  ‘Give me your word’ as you find a fresh take on ‘the word of the month’ or ‘word for word’, or ‘my word’ or even ‘buzzword’.  If ‘the Greeks had a word for it’ how does that relate to ‘the magic of words’ and ‘a word to the wise’?  Discover new meaning to ‘the tyranny of words’, ‘a play on words’ and your favourite ‘four-letter word’, even ‘the saddest word’.  If ‘Mum’s the word’ what about Dad?  Think ‘word of mouth’, or ‘word perfect’, ‘crosswords’, ‘in other words’ and, last of all, ‘the last word’.  Not so sure about ‘the word of God’.  For all of these OLD JACK has a powerful tale to tell – tales that will delight and amaze, entertain, enlighten and energize you.  For remember always, a word in the head is worth two in the book.

Or, as Sir Lancelot (of Camelot fame) might have said –

“I’ve never lost in contest or game, I’m simply the best by far,

When words are tossed, ‘tis always the same, one verse and au revoir.”

A third full-length show, OLD JACK meets Banjo Paterson, is in active preparation for the 2019 Adelaide Fringe Festival.  As you might expect, when these two old storytellers meet words fly - hot and cold, up and down, far and wide.


Then secondly, OLD JACK has a wide and extensive range of individual numbers that can be mixed and matched to suit any event, large of small.  "Adelaide or the Bush" and "Clowning Around" are just two of the many possible combinations, even a special collection for schools - OLD JACK's Hats Full of Magic: Playing with Words.  A small range of these singles that are available can be seen in the following selection -

On Being Politically Correct (Studio recording)


 Eddie McGuire’s Bicycle (Studio recording)


 You’ve not been anywhere (at the C&S; 24.08.15)


 There is a clown inside of me (Poetry slam, 2015)


 Out of the Closet (Red Faces, 2016)


 Old Jack: the Aussie Gleeman (snippets)





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