“The most artistically, conceptually, politically and socially ambitious work being made in Australia today. The issues are huge and directly impact upon the working process of the company but the fragility, vulnerability, confusion and instability of that collaborative process is one of the most hopeful things I have witnessed in Australian Theatre.”Sarah Miller, Real Time
Marrugeku creates innovative intercultural dance theatre from the northwest Australian experience, where desert meets sea, Australia meets Asia and where cultures twine, fuse and morph. The company is currently under the artistic direction of Dalisa Pigram and Rachael Swain. Marrugeku was founded and based in Western Arnhem Land from 1994 till 2002 where it developed the ground breaking intercultural and interdisciplinary productions Mimi (1996) and Crying Baby (2001) in collaboration with Kunwinjku artists and story keepers. Since 2003 Marrugeku is proud to create its contemporary productions in the land of the Yawuru people of Broome, WA. Drawing from the lives of people and communities living in remote north west Australia, Marrugeku share the memories and traditions of Indigenous culture and experience through contemporary dance-theatre. Productions produced in Broome include the dance, film and karaoke work Burning Daylight (2009) the youth production Buru (2011) and most recently the multi-lingual dance and video solo Gudirr Gudirr (2013) performed by Dalisa Pigram and designed by Vernon Ah Kee.
Marrugeku’s ambitious large-scale outdoor and indoor productions are created through long-term collaborations with artists from remote and urban locations, though innovative international collaborations and in dialogue with Indigenous cultural custodians. The company utilises contemporary dance, traditional and contemporary music, circus, installation and video art to create its visually spectacular productions. Works are presented in a variety of alternative locations from remote Indigenous communities to international arts festivals in Australia and around the world.
Marrugeku maintains a rare position as an innovative contemporary performing arts company which practices in the northwest of Australia. The company conceives, creates and presents its body of work wholly in Indigenous contexts and in remote conditions and as such responds directly to key issues facing those communities. Broome is an ideal home for Marrugeku to progress its central aims of culture making and culture mapping, and it is the Broome Indigenous community’s own particular relationship to place, forged by a complex and often painful history, that drives Marrugeku’s work.
Marrugeku has a commitment to art form development, documentation and the sharing of artistic and cultural knowledge. This has lead to platforms such as the company’s trilogy of International Indigenous Choreographic Labs (2009-2011), the dance documentary Burning Daylight, shot and directed by Warwick Thornton, and the multi-tiered Place History and Community documentation project.