Jurrungu Ngan-ga / Straight Talk

About the production

Challenging, joyful and deeply effecting, Jurrungu Ngan-ga — literally ‘Straight Talk’— confronts Australia’s shameful fixation with incarceration in a powerful and provocative new dance work. The mesmerising multimedia production exposes deep-seated fears holding us back from truth and justice. Inspired by perspectives on incarceration shared by Yawuru leader Patrick Dodson as well as Kurdish-Iranian writer and former Manus Island detainee Behrouz Boochani with philosopher Omid Tofighian, Jurrungu Ngan-ga reflects on the disgraceful disproportion of Indigenous Australians in custody and first-hand descriptions of life inside Australia’s immigration detention centres.

Devised by an exceptionally talented cast through Marrugeku’s hallmark intercultural dance process, facilitated by choreographer Dalisa Pigram and director Rachael Swain, Jurrungu Ngan-ga is set within a large-scale installation designed by leading West Australian visual artist Abdul-Rahman Abdullah. Searing truths blend with dark humour, courage, fear, sadness and anger to shine a light on new ways to resist and abolish. The multi-talented cast draw on their intersecting yet distinct cultural and community-informed experiences (Indigenous, immigrant, people seeking asylum, transgender and settler) to ask: who really is in prison here?

Challenging, joyful and deeply effecting, Jurrungu Ngan-ga — literally ‘Straight Talk’— confronts Australia’s shameful fixation with incarceration in a powerful and provocative new dance work. The mesmerising multimedia production exposes deep-seated fears holding us back from truth and justice. Inspired by perspectives on incarceration shared by Yawuru leader Patrick Dodson as well as Kurdish-Iranian writer and former Manus Island detainee Behrouz Boochani with philosopher Omid Tofighian, Jurrungu Ngan-ga reflects on the disgraceful disproportion of Indigenous Australians in custody and first-hand descriptions of life inside Australia’s immigration detention centres.

Devised by an exceptionally talented cast through Marrugeku’s hallmark intercultural dance process, facilitated by choreographer Dalisa Pigram and director Rachael Swain, Jurrungu Ngan-ga is set within a large-scale installation designed by leading West Australian visual artist Abdul-Rahman Abdullah. Searing truths blend with dark humour, courage, fear, sadness and anger to shine a light on new ways to resist and abolish. The multi-talented cast draw on their intersecting yet distinct cultural and community-informed experiences (Indigenous, immigrant, people seeking asylum, transgender and settler) to ask: who really is in prison here?

  • Venues and Dates

    2021

    Broome Civic Centre | Broome
    30 April – 1 May

    Carriageworks | Sydney
    4-7 August

    The Playhouse Theatre | Darwin [CANCELLED]
    13-14 August

    Arts House | Melbourne [CANCELLED]
    18–22 August

    2021

    Broome Civic Centre | Broome
    30 April – 1 May

    Carriageworks | Sydney
    4-7 August

    The Playhouse Theatre | Darwin [CANCELLED]
    13-14 August

    Arts House | Melbourne [CANCELLED]
    18–22 August

  • Creative Team

    CAST AND CREATIVE TEAM

    Concept Dalisa Pigram and Rachael Swain with Patrick Dodson

    Choreography Dalisa Pigram with the performers

    Direction Rachael Swain

    Dramaturgy Hildegard de Vuyst

    Cultural Dramaturgy Behrouz Boochani, Patrick Dodson, Omid Tofighian

    Music Sam Serruys, Paul Charlier and Rhyan Clapham aka DOBBY

    Music/sound design Sam Serruys

    Scenic design Abdul-Rahman Abdullah

    Costume design Andrew Treloar

    Lighting design Damien Cooper

    Co-devising performers Czack (Ses) Bero, Emmanuel James Brown, Chandler Connell, Luke Currie-Richardson, Issa el Assaad, Zachary Lopez, Bhenji Ra, Feras Shaheen and Miranda Wheen

    CAST AND CREATIVE TEAM

    Concept Dalisa Pigram and Rachael Swain with Patrick Dodson

    Choreography Dalisa Pigram with the performers

    Direction Rachael Swain

    Dramaturgy Hildegard de Vuyst

    Cultural Dramaturgy Behrouz Boochani, Patrick Dodson, Omid Tofighian

    Music Sam Serruys, Paul Charlier and Rhyan Clapham aka DOBBY

    Music/sound design Sam Serruys

    Scenic design Abdul-Rahman Abdullah

    Costume design Andrew Treloar

    Lighting design Damien Cooper

    Co-devising performers Czack (Ses) Bero, Emmanuel James Brown, Chandler Connell, Luke Currie-Richardson, Issa el Assaad, Zachary Lopez, Bhenji Ra, Feras Shaheen and Miranda Wheen

  • Reviews

    Artshub

    Kate Rendell
    12 May 2021

    A potent, superbly executed work that pulsates with sadness and rage, resilience and joy. It feels almost reductive to put into words an experience as visceral as Jurrungu Ngan-ga, the new production by the intercultural and interdisciplinary company Marrugeku. A hybrid work of contemporary dance, spoken word, multi-media and sound design, Jurrungu Ngan-ga is a
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  • Gallery
  • Supporters

    Jurrungu Ngan-ga [Straight Talk] was commissioned by Carriageworks (Sydney) and the City of Melbourne through Arts House.

    Jurrungu Ngan-ga [Straight Talk] has been funded by the Australian Government through the Australia Council; the Government of Western Australian through the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries; Create NSW; the Australian Government through the Indigenous Language and Arts Program and the Nelson Meers Foundation.

A potent, superbly executed work that pulsates with sadness and rage, resilience and joy.

Kate Rendell