‘Listening to Country’ is an intercultural performance research project led by ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) recipient, Dr Rachael Swain. The performance-based research project has been investigating Indigenous dance and dramaturgy as practices of ‘listening to country’ at a time of global environmental change.

A three-week research laboratory developed at The University of Melbourne with Indigenous cultural custodians was staged at sites across the Kimberley, leading to a dramaturgy symposium in Broome and a major creative work by the dance company Marrugeku, of which Dr Swain is co-artistic director.

Titled Cut the Sky, the work is a dramatic performance in five acts based on the poems written and spoken by Edwin Lee Mulligan, and a meditation on humanity’s frailty in the face of our own actions. The performance explores the complex, global problem of climate change using a different language, of theatre and dance, which values an Aboriginal perspective of looking at country.

Marrugeku have now toured the performance to remote Kimberley communities, Australian festivals and international venues.

VIDEO: Cut the Sky production and Listening to Country research laboratory

Image: A scene from Cut The Sky.
Credit: Jon Green.