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Bangarra: Wudjang: Not the Past
15 January @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm AEDT
An event every week that begins at 7:30 pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, repeating until 12 February 2022
Bangarra and STC join forces for the first time to present an epic work combining dance, Mibinyah poetry and song, English text and live music. Presented as part of Sydney Festival, Wudjang: Not the Past will be performed by 17 dancers, five actors and four musicians. Directed and choreographed by Bangarra AD Stephen Page, and co-written with playwright Alana Valentine (who collaborated with Page on the extraordinary Bennelong), Wudjang begins when workmen find bones while excavating for a dam. Among them is Yugambeh man, Bilin, who convinces his colleagues to let him keep the ancestral bones so that this ancestor, Wudjang, can be honoured with a traditional resting place on country. Teaching us to acknowledge, listen and learn from the past, Wudjang promises to be a landmark work.
Limelight Editor’s Choice
In a first-time co-production, two powerhouse arts companies, Bangarra Dance Theatre and Sydney Theatre Company, will join forces to present the world premiere of Wudjang: Not the Past, an epic-scale contemporary corroboree, and Bangarra’s largest stage production to date. Wudjang: Not the Past will premiere at Sydney Festival 2022 from 14 January to 12 February.
Wudjang: Not the Past is an astonishing new work which brings together 17 dancers, four musicians and five actors for an artistically ambitious production. Combining poetry, spoken storytelling and live music with Bangarra’s unique dance language, this profoundly evocative piece of First Nations performance promises to be a benchmark Australian production.
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.
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.
Wudjang: Not the Past is told in Mibinyah poetry and song with English text and featuring Bangarra’s inimitable fusion of contemporary and traditional choreography.