In the deep darkness just before dawn, workmen find bones while excavating for a dam. Among them is a Yugambeh man, Bilin, who convinces his colleagues to let him keep the ancestral bones. This ancestor is Wudjang, who longs to be reburied the proper way. With her young companion spirit, Gurai, she dances and teaches and sings of the past, of the earth, of songlines. With grace and authentic power, a new generation is taught how to listen, learn and carry their ancestral energy into the future. Wudjang: Not the Past follows the journey to honour Wudjang with a traditional resting place on Country.
We're thrilled to join forces with Sydney Theatre Company to present the world premiere of Wudjang: Not the Past, an epic-scale contemporary corroboree. This new work brings together 17 dancers, four musicians and five actors for our largest stage production to date.
Directed and choreographed by Bangarra’s Artistic Director Stephen Page and co-written with award-winning playwright Alana Valentine (Bangarra’s Bennelong, Barbara and the Camp Dogs), Wudjang: Not the Past is deeply rooted in Page’s own Yugambeh Country, in a story with branches spreading across our continent’s past and troubled present.
Combining poetry, spoken storytelling and live music with our unique dance language, this profoundly evocative piece of First Nations performance promises to be a benchmark Australian production.
Featuring Bangarra Dance Theatre Dancers, Elaine Crombie, Elma Kris, Jess Hitchcock, Justin Smith, Kirk Page and musicians Amaru Derwent, Brendon Boney, Tessa Nuku and Véronique Serret.
Wudjang: Not the Past is recommended for audiences aged 12 and over. This production contains political and social themes, including violence and sexual assault, which may cause distress. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this production contains voices of people who have passed away.
- ★★★★★ "It has never been more important for this story to be told" - The AU Review
- ★★★★½ "Stephen Page’s legacy is an epic piece of storytelling” - Time Out Sydney
- ★★★★½ "Stephen Page's legacy is an epic piece of storytelling" - Sydney Morning Herald
- ★★★★½ "A ravishingly staged, poignant production" - Limelight Magazine
- "A potent potion of pure theatre" - Sydney Arts Guide
This project has been assisted by the Australian Government’s Major Festivals Initiative, managed by the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body, in association with the Confederation of Australian International Arts Festivals Inc, commissioned by Sydney Festival, Perth Festival and Adelaide Festival, and co-produced by Bangarra Dance Theatre and Sydney Theatre Company.
Supported through the Australian Government's Indigenous Languages and Arts program.
Photo: Daniel Boud