Cut The Sky

About the production

Cut The Sky is a meditation on humanity’s frailty in the face of our own actions. In a burnt landscape a group of climate change refugees face yet another extreme weather event. Propelled back and forward in time, they revisit conflict with mining companies, the destruction of fauna and relegation of the marginalised, while contemplating the gift of a human life and the life giving force of the sun. Butterflies swarm searching for water, dancers disintegrate into the light, a song is sung calling for rain.

Like climate change itself, Cut the Sky is at once unapologetically local and international, a concept embedded in the collaboration itself, which includes artists from Europe, Asia, Africa and remote and urban Australia. Dance, video, poetry and song collide. All the elements — popular and high art, literal and poetic, indigenous and European — meet abruptly in a breathtaking 70 minutes, creating electric connections.

A work in five acts based on the poems written and spoken by Edwin Lee Mulligan, Cut the Sky includes original songs from soul singer Ngaiire, Indigenous songs by the cast and covers from Nick Cave, sung live with thrilling effect by Ngaire Pigram. The set is bare aside from a gas pipeline thrusting up from the floor of the stage. Backstage is hung a huge length of fabric, its folds visible, serving as a screen for projections. The video design encompasses the literal — broad sweeps of country, the devastation after a cyclone — and the poetic. This ambitious multi-dimensional work showcases Marrugeku’s unique contemporary choreography: restless, taut and unwavering.

Cut The Sky is a meditation on humanity’s frailty in the face of our own actions. In a burnt landscape a group of climate change refugees face yet another extreme weather event. Propelled back and forward in time, they revisit conflict with mining companies, the destruction of fauna and relegation of the marginalised, while contemplating the gift of a human life and the life giving force of the sun. Butterflies swarm searching for water, dancers disintegrate into the light, a song is sung calling for rain.

Like climate change itself, Cut the Sky is at once unapologetically local and international, a concept embedded in the collaboration itself, which includes artists from Europe, Asia, Africa and remote and urban Australia. Dance, video, poetry and song collide. All the elements — popular and high art, literal and poetic, indigenous and European — meet abruptly in a breathtaking 70 minutes, creating electric connections.

A work in five acts based on the poems written and spoken by Edwin Lee Mulligan, Cut the Sky includes original songs from soul singer Ngaiire, Indigenous songs by the cast and covers from Nick Cave, sung live with thrilling effect by Ngaire Pigram. The set is bare aside from a gas pipeline thrusting up from the floor of the stage. Backstage is hung a huge length of fabric, its folds visible, serving as a screen for projections. The video design encompasses the literal — broad sweeps of country, the devastation after a cyclone — and the poetic. This ambitious multi-dimensional work showcases Marrugeku’s unique contemporary choreography: restless, taut and unwavering.

  • Venues and Dates

    2017

    European tour Nov/Dec
    Venues announced soon

    The World Premiere of Cut the Sky was at Perth International Arts Festival
    27 February – 1 March

    2016

    Waan Pacific Dance Festival
    Centre Culturel Tjibaou
    Noumea, New Caledonia
    16-18 September 2016

    Performance Climates Festival Psi22
    Meat Market Arts House
    Melbourne
    6 – Sun 10 July 2016

    Sydney Festival 2016
    Sydney Opera House
    14-17 January 2016

    2015

    EUROPEAN TOUR 2015
    Theater Im Pfalzbau
    14 & 15 October 2015
    Ludwidshafen, Germany

    Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg
    20 October 2015
    Luxembourg

    Koninklijke Vlaamse Schouwburg (KVS)
    22 23 & 24 October 2015
    Brussels, Belgium

    WA REMOTE TOUR 2015

    The Boardwalk Theatre
    7 & 8 August 2015
    Mandurah Performing Arts Centre
    Ormsby Terrace, Mandurah

    Pigram Garden Theatre
    14 – 16 August 2015
    Broome Civic Centre
    Broome

    Mowanjum Art and Culture Centre
    22 August 2015

    Ardyaloon Community
    27 & 28 August 2015

    WOMADelaide
    7 & 8 March 2015
    Stage 2
    Adelaide

    Perth International Arts Festival
    27 February – 1 March
    World Premiere
    Regal Theatre, 474 Hay Street, Subiaco

     

    2017

    European tour Nov/Dec
    Venues announced soon

    The World Premiere of Cut the Sky was at Perth International Arts Festival
    27 February – 1 March

    2016

    Waan Pacific Dance Festival
    Centre Culturel Tjibaou
    Noumea, New Caledonia
    16-18 September 2016

    Performance Climates Festival Psi22
    Meat Market Arts House
    Melbourne
    6 – Sun 10 July 2016

    Sydney Festival 2016
    Sydney Opera House
    14-17 January 2016

    2015

    EUROPEAN TOUR 2015
    Theater Im Pfalzbau
    14 & 15 October 2015
    Ludwidshafen, Germany

    Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg
    20 October 2015
    Luxembourg

    Koninklijke Vlaamse Schouwburg (KVS)
    22 23 & 24 October 2015
    Brussels, Belgium

    WA REMOTE TOUR 2015

    The Boardwalk Theatre
    7 & 8 August 2015
    Mandurah Performing Arts Centre
    Ormsby Terrace, Mandurah

    Pigram Garden Theatre
    14 – 16 August 2015
    Broome Civic Centre
    Broome

    Mowanjum Art and Culture Centre
    22 August 2015

    Ardyaloon Community
    27 & 28 August 2015

    WOMADelaide
    7 & 8 March 2015
    Stage 2
    Adelaide

    Perth International Arts Festival
    27 February – 1 March
    World Premiere
    Regal Theatre, 474 Hay Street, Subiaco

     

  • Creative Team

    Cut the Sky is collaboratively created by:

    Concept: Dalisa Pigram and Rachael Swain
    Poems: Edwin Lee Mulligan
    Director: Rachael Swain
    Choreographers: Dalisa Pigram and Serge Aimé Coulibaly
    Dramaturg: Hildegard de Vuyst
    Musical Director:  Matthew Fargher
    Media designers & visual concept: Sonal Jain and Mriganka Madhukaillya (Desire Machine Collective)
    Set and Costume Designer: Stephen Curtis
    Lighting Designer: Damien Cooper
    Cultural Adviser: Patrick Dodson

    Cast/co-creators:

    Miranda Wheen
    Ngaire Pigram
    Eric Avery
    Josh Mu
    Dalisa Pigram
    Edwin Lee Mulligan

    Musicians and vocals in recordings: Lorrae Coffin, Konrad Park, Kelly Ottaway, Andry Sculthorpe, Michael Fortescue and Ruth Langford
    Backing Vocals: Kartanya Maynard
    Voice of Bill Grayden: Peter Docker
    Engineer and production: Don Bate

    Cut the Sky is collaboratively created by:

    Concept: Dalisa Pigram and Rachael Swain
    Poems: Edwin Lee Mulligan
    Director: Rachael Swain
    Choreographers: Dalisa Pigram and Serge Aimé Coulibaly
    Dramaturg: Hildegard de Vuyst
    Musical Director:  Matthew Fargher
    Media designers & visual concept: Sonal Jain and Mriganka Madhukaillya (Desire Machine Collective)
    Set and Costume Designer: Stephen Curtis
    Lighting Designer: Damien Cooper
    Cultural Adviser: Patrick Dodson

    Cast/co-creators:

    Miranda Wheen
    Ngaire Pigram
    Eric Avery
    Josh Mu
    Dalisa Pigram
    Edwin Lee Mulligan

    Musicians and vocals in recordings: Lorrae Coffin, Konrad Park, Kelly Ottaway, Andry Sculthorpe, Michael Fortescue and Ruth Langford
    Backing Vocals: Kartanya Maynard
    Voice of Bill Grayden: Peter Docker
    Engineer and production: Don Bate

  • Reviews

    Dance Australia

    Margaret Mercer
    20150302

    Broome-based company Marrugeku’s new production Cut The Sky mixes contemporary and traditional music, poetry, contemporary dance and visual media in an entertaining seventy-minute performance. With esteemed Yawuru man Patrick Dodson as cultural adviser, Cut the Sky draws on indigenous knowledge systems to contemplate climate change, land rights, and an uncertain future. Promoted as ’genre defying,’ the
    read more…

    Australian Book review

    Terri-Ann White
    20150305

    The world première in Perth of a new work from a Broome-based performance company was an event of considerable note. Twenty-one years of productions made in West Arnhem Land and then in Broome turns conventional wisdoms upside down in Australian terms. Many people still hold that sophisticated cultural work is made in cities and that
    read more…

    ABC

    Alison Croggon
    20150306

    There’s no getting around the fact that climate change is the issue of our time. It’s a problem that encompasses every facet of our lives, from our domestic habits to global politics. One of the reasons why it’s difficult to process, quite apart from the difficulty of extending our individual senses of mortality to imagining
    read more…

    ArtsHub

    Carol Flavell Neist
    20150303

    Seventy minutes of mind-blowing intercultural and interdisciplinary performance! This was a huge endeavour, involving many, many people. The six performers were just the tip of an enormous iceberg, although when considering a work created by people whose home is in the desert, perhaps iceberg is an inappropriate metaphor. The company, collectively called Marrugeku, hails from
    read more…

  • Gallery
  • Supporters

    Cut the Sky was commissioned by Theater Im Pfalzbau, Ludwigshafen, Germany, Carriageworks (Australia, KVS, Brussels (Belgium). Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg (LU) and Centre Culturel Tjibaou Nouméa (New Caledonia)

    Cut the Sky has been funded by the Australia Council, the Western Australian Department of Culture and the Arts, Australian Research Council, Australian Government Attorney General office –Ministry for the Arts, Department of Foreign Affairs, Arts Tasmania and Arts NSW.

     

Rachael Swain’s direction gave poignancy to its global-reaching questions

Rita Clarke, The Australian