Cut The Sky

About the production

Cut the Sky erupts in unpredictable shifts through the detritus of the past and the present in the north of Western Australia. Beginning in a near future as climate refugees, a displaced traditional owner, Indigenous and settler mining workers, a geologist, a sex worker, a scavenger and a protester reoccur in defining moments for the Kimberley as they face ever present end times. Tossed together in an extreme weather event, they shape-shift as a flock of urgent, spiralling butterflies— propelled through time tunnels to ratchet up the stakes in the search for water, for connection, for the future.

Circumstances change, hierarchies are reorganized, fortunes fail and occasionally they become a tentative community. Shapeshifting as crocodiles who once were human with deeply cut (colonial) wounds that have never been healed they dance together at the precipice of survival. An anthropomorphized kangaroo-human is consumed by smoke, struggling to a blinding end. In an arid future they camp in shelters, back-lit by immense yellow light and haze. Clad in packaging they drag their sweeping frames across the unstable ground in a final attempt to appease the thick atmosphere that surrounds them. Finally, as they collectively experience the dreams and nightmares of our future, the rain is summoned.

Featuring the epic perspectives of dream catcher Edwin Lee Mulligan seeing his Nyikina and Walmajarri Country through the eyes of his totems, and songs by Ngaiire and Nick Cave, Cut the Sky asks what it takes to dream a different future together?

Cut the Sky erupts in unpredictable shifts through the detritus of the past and the present in the north of Western Australia. Beginning in a near future as climate refugees, a displaced traditional owner, Indigenous and settler mining workers, a geologist, a sex worker, a scavenger and a protester reoccur in defining moments for the Kimberley as they face ever present end times. Tossed together in an extreme weather event, they shape-shift as a flock of urgent, spiralling butterflies— propelled through time tunnels to ratchet up the stakes in the search for water, for connection, for the future.

Circumstances change, hierarchies are reorganized, fortunes fail and occasionally they become a tentative community. Shapeshifting as crocodiles who once were human with deeply cut (colonial) wounds that have never been healed they dance together at the precipice of survival. An anthropomorphized kangaroo-human is consumed by smoke, struggling to a blinding end. In an arid future they camp in shelters, back-lit by immense yellow light and haze. Clad in packaging they drag their sweeping frames across the unstable ground in a final attempt to appease the thick atmosphere that surrounds them. Finally, as they collectively experience the dreams and nightmares of our future, the rain is summoned.

Featuring the epic perspectives of dream catcher Edwin Lee Mulligan seeing his Nyikina and Walmajarri Country through the eyes of his totems, and songs by Ngaiire and Nick Cave, Cut the Sky asks what it takes to dream a different future together?

  • Venues and Dates

    The World Premiere of Cut the Sky was at Perth International Arts Festival
    27 February – 1 March 2015

    2024

    Sydney | Carriageworks
    4–13 July

    2018

    The Alexander Kasser Theater | Montclair State University | New Jersey | USA
    15–18 November

    Harborfront Center | Toronto | Canada
    23 & 24 November

    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

    The World Premiere of Cut the Sky was at Perth International Arts Festival
    27 February – 1 March 2015

    2024

    Sydney | Carriageworks
    4–13 July

    2018

    The Alexander Kasser Theater | Montclair State University | New Jersey | USA
    15–18 November

    Harborfront Center | Toronto | Canada
    23 & 24 November

    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:

    CREATIVE AND CULTURAL TEAM

    Concept: Dalisa Pigram and Rachael Swain with Patrick Dodson
    Director: Rachael Swain
    Choreographers: Dalisa Pigram and Serge Aimé Coulibaly
    Cultural Dramaturg: Patrick Dodson
    Dramaturg: Hildegard de Vuyst
    Poems: Edwin Lee Mulligan
    Visual concept & Media Artists: Sonal Jain and Mriganka Madhukaillya (Desire Machine Collective)
    Set and Costume Designer: Stephen Curtis
    Musical Director: Matthew Fargher
    Songwriter & recorded vocals: Ngaiire
    Lighting Designer: Damien Cooper
    Cinematographer and video production: Sam James
    Rain effect designer: Joey Ruigrok Van Der Werven

    Co-devising Performers 2024-25: Samuel Hauturu Beazley, Emmanuel James Brown, Emma Harrison, Dalisa Pigram, Ngaire Pigram, Taj Pigram, Miranda Wheen
    Previous co-devising Performers (2015-18): Eric Avery, Josh Mu, Edwin Lee Mulligan

    Cut the Sky is collaboratively created by:

    CREATIVE AND CULTURAL TEAM

    Concept: Dalisa Pigram and Rachael Swain with Patrick Dodson
    Director: Rachael Swain
    Choreographers: Dalisa Pigram and Serge Aimé Coulibaly
    Cultural Dramaturg: Patrick Dodson
    Dramaturg: Hildegard de Vuyst
    Poems: Edwin Lee Mulligan
    Visual concept & Media Artists: Sonal Jain and Mriganka Madhukaillya (Desire Machine Collective)
    Set and Costume Designer: Stephen Curtis
    Musical Director: Matthew Fargher
    Songwriter & recorded vocals: Ngaiire
    Lighting Designer: Damien Cooper
    Cinematographer and video production: Sam James
    Rain effect designer: Joey Ruigrok Van Der Werven

    Co-devising Performers 2024-25: Samuel Hauturu Beazley, Emmanuel James Brown, Emma Harrison, Dalisa Pigram, Ngaire Pigram, Taj Pigram, Miranda Wheen
    Previous co-devising Performers (2015-18): Eric Avery, Josh Mu, Edwin Lee Mulligan

  • Reviews

    Dance Australia

    Margaret Mercer
    2 Mar 2015

    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
    5 Mar 2015

    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
    6 Mar 2016

    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
    3 Mar 2015

    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) / Koninklijke VlaKVS Schouwburg – KVS (Belgium) / Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg (Luxembourg) and Centre Culturel Tjibaou Nouméa (New Caledonia).

    Cut the Sky has been funded by the Australian Government through Creative Australia, its principal arts investment and advisory body, 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 and City of Sydney.

It leads to an astonishing finale that evokes both catastrophe and plenty

Alison Croggan, ABC Arts