Djurra

“Director Kirk Page’s Djurra is important for so many reasons, first and foremost as a multi-disciplinary performative ceremony including dance, spoken text and physical theatre in which ritual is enacted.”

RealTime

about

A pinhole of light emerges from the darkness. A mother calls her broken son home on the waves. Something is coming. The spirits lament. We speak our eulogies and bite our tongues against the insatiable rage.

We are still here. We remember those whose shoulders we have stood upon. Regeneration begins; held in the mouth of our stories.

Djurra is NORPA’s breathtaking new dance theatre work directed by Kirk Page and inspired by a Bundjalung creation story. Woven from the story veins of a timeless culture, and contemporary experience, Djurra is told through a series of interwoven vignettes. Using strong physicality, powerful First Nation monologues and striking imagery, Djurra is an unforgettable experience that will resonate with audiences long after they leave the theatre.

Djurra is a new direction for the project formally known as the Three Brothers based on the Three Brothers Bundjalung creation story.

creative team

Performers/ Devisors
Joel Bray
Sarah Bolt
Damion Hunter
James Slee
Production

Director/ Devisor — Kirk Page
Cultural Consultants — Roy Gordon & Rhoda Roberts
Producer – Jo Porter
Dramaturg — Julian Louis
Script Consultant — Janis Balodis
Choreographer — Jade Dewi Tyas Tunggal
Composer — Ben Walsh
Set & Costumes Designers — Charlotte Haywood & Edward Horne
Contributing artists — Mitchell King & Blake Rhodes
Video Artist — Rohan Langford
Lighting Designer — Karl Johnson
Stage Manager — Peter Sutherland
Rigger — Tully Ward
Assistant to the production — Ajita Cannings
Drone footage — Aerial Punkin

“Djurra sublimely blends ancient and contemporary, past and present, dance and drama to tell both the Bundjalung creation story and a more eternal tale of family loss amid a multi-sensorial backdrop of soundscape and video.”

ABC North Coast

Kirk Page

Kirk Page

Director and Devisor

Kirk has worked in film, television and theatre as movement consultant and director on ABC’s My Place, Bran Nue Dae, Krush Legs on the Wall, Melbourne Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony and Bangarra Dance Theatre — Rekindling Youth Dance Program. He was Assistant Director for Bloodland with Sydney Theatre Company (STC), Posts in the Paddock with My Darling Patricia and on Culminate with Force Majuere as one of the emerging choreographers 2013. His directing credits include Codirector for Bathurst Circus and Physical Theatre Festival Catapult 2012; Director To Whom It May Concern at the Australian Centre for Theatre and Television; Associate Director Circus Oz Blakflip training program. Kirk is NORPA’s Associate Director. He is the director of Djurra as well as Horse’s Mouth — a program for emerging indigenous artists, in partnership with Beyond Empathy.

Photo: Kate Holmes

Rhoda Roberts

Rhoda Roberts

Cultural Consultant

A member of the Bundjalung nation, Widjabul clan Rhoda is Head of First Nations Programming at the Sydney Opera House, and Festival Director of the Boomerang Festival and Creative Curator Parrtjima Festival, Alice Springs.
In 2016 Rhoda was presented with an Order of Australia for her distinguished service to the performing arts, leadership, advocacy and promoting contemporary Indigenous culture.She was a co-founding member of Australia’s first national Aboriginal theatre company, the Aboriginal National Theatre Trust (ANTT) and coined the term Welcome to Country, establishing protocol manuals and welcomes by local custodians for the arts industry. Rhoda was the Founder and Artistic Director of the Dreaming Festival (1995–2009) and the former Creative Director of the Indigenous segment (the Awakening) for the Opening Ceremony to the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. Rhoda was the Creative Director for Songlines — the phenomenally successful lighting of the Sydney Opera House sails, which opened Vivid Festival Sydney 2016.
Rhoda has served on the board of Indigenous Tourism Australia, Playwriting Australia, The Australia International Cultural Council (AICC), NORPA.

Photo | Kate Holmes

Uncle Roy Gordon

Uncle Roy Gordon

Cultural Consultant

Roy Gordon is a Bundjalung Elder, actor and teacher who began his acting career performing in Waiting for Godot during the Festival of the Dreaming in Sydney in 1997. Directed by Rhoda Roberts, the play was performed entirely in Bundjalung language with English subtitles. He’s written plays for local productions, held educational camps and toured cultural shows. Roy played a Kumbaingiri man in the film version of Oscar and Lucinda, and performed in The Secret River for Sydney Theatre Company.

Photo | Kate Holmes

Joel Bray

Joel Bray

Performer and Devisor

A Melbourne-based artist, Joel has performed in Complexity of Belonging — a project by Falk Richter and Anouk van Dijk that premiered as part of the 2014 Melbourne Festival. A proud Wiradjuri man, Joel began dancing at age 20, with traditional Aboriginal and Contemporary dance forms at NAISDA Dance College, before graduating from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts in 2005. He has performed with Company CeDeCe (Portugal), Kolben Dance, Machol Shalem Dance House, Yoram Karmi’s FRESCO Dance Company, Niv Sheinfeld & Oren Laor and Roy Assaf. He has continued his collaboration with van Dijk and Richter in their production Safe Places at the Frankfurt Shauspielhaus. Joel’s choreographic credits include works for PICA, the ArtRage Festival (Perth), The Albania International Dance Meeting (Durres, Albania), the Mixer Festival (Ramat Gan, Israel) and Dancers Create (Suzan Dellal Centre, Tel Aviv), STRUT WA and the IntimaDance Festival in Tel Aviv. His work for a children’s audience, SPLASH, was commissioned by the Israeli National Science Museum and had an audience of over 11,000. Joel’s solo performance BILADURANG was awarded best Performance in the 2017 Melbourne Fringe.

Photo | Kate Holmes

Sarah Bolt

Sarah Bolt

Performer and Devisor

Sarah is a Bundjalung dancer, visual artist, mentor and health worker who is passionate about growing well-being in the Bundjalung community through culture and the arts.
Sarah has established two women’s dance groups; The Nini Nahri-Gali’s with NORPA as part of their Bundjalung Nghari program and in Ballina Dubayjars Mendjehla where she teaches both traditional, contemporary dancing and story lines. She manages Yawarr Ngujawiny Aboriginal Corporation — a dance group based in Coffs Harbour and works closely with Saltwater Freshwater Arts Alliance delivering dance workshop and as a performer. She is proud to be a newly appointed NORPA Board member.

Photo | Lisa Sorghini

Damion Hunter

Damion Hunter

Performer and Devisor

Damion Hunter is a NIDA graduate who has been creating film and theatre for over 20 years. His notable moments coming from his performance in Jandamarra, receiving a Helpmann award nomination, and The Shadow King which received a Green Room Award for Best Script and a Helpmann award for Best Direction. Other productions include Love’s Triumph, Our Country’s Good, Eating Ice Cream With Your Eyes Closed for the Queensland Theatre Company and Romeo and Juliet for Sydney Theatre Company.

Photo | Kate Holmes

James Slee

James Slee

Performer and Devisor

James is from Cherbourg QLD, traditionally belonging to the Kuku Yalanji and Goa clan groups. He also has family connections to the Gubbi Gubbi and Wakka Wakka clan.
He is very proud of his culture and has been taught traditional dances from his country by his Uncle. He also knows how to play the didgeridoo. His credits include Redfern Now for Blackfella films and ABC was James’ first screen role. He has since appeared in ABC series Black Comedy, telemovie The Broken Shore and most recently Deep Water on SBS. He made his Sydney Theatre Company debut in The Secret River and also played the lead in Belvoir’s The Cake Man. James then went to perform in Sydney Theatre Company’s The Battle of Waterloo and in Inhale/Exhale/Breathe for Ngarrama Productions and toured Nathan Maynard’s The Season in Sydney and Hobart.

Photo | Kate Holmes

Jade Dewi

Jade Dewi

Choreographer

A direct descendant of the first Sultan of Yogyakarta, Hamengku Buwana, Jade’s Javanese ancestors also have lineage with 9th century Borobudur. Born in Awabakal country she has an Australian heritage stretching back 220 years. Dancing in Yirrkala she is now adopted by the Marika family and her Yolngu name is Murukun. Jade Dewi is a dance artist and experimental creative working across and within many contexts. Her solo, collaborative and commissioned work highlight explorations of her own rich Javanese cultural heritage and lifelong connections with indigenous communities, combined with an in-depth knowledge of western dance performance forms. Her performing climates installation, Enfold, was invited to perform at the Australia Dance Festival in Jakarta and Mermaid Tears appeared across Bali. Recent writings, Moving with My Nature, are now published in Digital Dialogues #8 for Critical Path. Jade is a NORPA Associate Artist, and is currently working with Kirk Page on Horses Mouth, NORPA's emerging Indigenous dance in partnership with Beyond Empathy.

Photo | Kate Holmes

Ben Walsh

Ben Walsh

Composer

Performer, percussionist, composer, instrument maker, collaborator, curator, record label owner, raconteur... Ben has been instrumental in the creation, development, touring, recording and establishment of groups such as The Bird, Circle of Rhythm, The Tom Tom Crew, Scotch & Soda, Sediment, Pablo Percusso, Taikoz, Groovelands and The Crusty Suitcase Band, Dha,... to name just a few of his endeavours.
Initially known as one of Australia’s well admired, respected and hardest working drummers, Ben has cut his teeth racking up thousands of gigs across the globe and studying with some of the worlds leading instrumentalists. Years of honing his skills has seen Ben’s artistic vision continually evolving, searching out new horizons and challenges from electronic forms to orchestral composition. Initially composing works for short films and dance, Ben’s body of work in the past years has extended to encompass live film scores, mixed media projects and
a ground-breaking piece of enhanced storytelling via orchestral score to Oscar winner Shaun Tan’s wordless masterpiece: The Arrival as commissioned by the Graphic Festival at Sydney Opera House.

Photo | Kate Holmes

Mitch King

Mitch King

Contributing Artist

Mitch King is a Yaegl Bundjalung man from the Far North Coast region of NSW. He is a creative producer specialising in hip hop music and dance and has been working at NORPA as an Associate Producer and Associate Artist since 2014. He is one part of local hip-hop group Teddy Lewis King and teaches dance with young people around the region. He has a background in youth work, collaborating with young people on community events and programs. Mitch combines his passion for hip-hop dance and music with theatre, movement and creative writing to connect with people who want to engage with the performing arts. As a workshop leader he develops people’s unique movement and voice within the rhythm and aesthetic of hip-hop.

Photo | Kate Holmes

Blakes Rhodes

Blakes Rhodes

Contributing Artist

Blake Rhodes is a Lismore-based award winning rapper, producer and workshop facilitator. He is one part of award winning hip-hop trio Teddy Lewis King. Blake has written and performed across the country from The Back Alley Gallery in Lismore and Byron Bay Falls Festival to Deniliquin and the Sydney Opera House.

Photo | Kate Holmes

Charlotte Haywood

Charlotte Haywood

Costume & Set Designer

Charlotte Haywood is an interdisciplinary artist that works across textiles, film, sound, installation, architecture and design. She creates works that thread disparate narratives
and processes of time and culture; seeking cultural and linguistic nuances of the body and landscape in a non-linear interrogation of history, the present and the future. She looks to untie hierarchies in light of multiple knowledge systems; an act of decolonising the self. Haywood has worked interdisciplinary and collaboratively in remote Australia, Vanuatu, Thailand and Indonesia, having also completed residencies in India, Peru and Thailand.
She has worked extensively in costume and design in film, TV and more recently theatre. She is collected by the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, Sydney and ARTBANK and has been awarded Australia Council grants for projects — Dirty Deeds (2012), Green Influx (2015) and Green Asylum (2017). Haywood has exhibited nationally and internationally.

Photo | Kate Holmes

Ed Horne

Ed Horne

Costume & Set Designer

Edward Horne is an artist, designer/art fabricator and production manager who delivers art and creativity for the public realm. He specialises in design consultancy and artwork fabrication creating site-specific, public art and design commissions for individuals and organisations. He has a history of working in community based projects and has been involved in the inception of Sydney and Melbourne based ARIs. In 2014 Edward conceived and wrote an architectural bamboo design-build course in Indonesia for Sydney University.Edward is project manager and provocateur for SITUATE artists, and has most recently worked with artists Chris Fox, Alex Davies, Walker and Bromwich, Bonita Ely, Richard Goodwin, Stelarc and Tyrone Sheather.

Photo | Kate Holmes

Rohan Langford

Rohan Langford

Video Artist

After a misspent youth working in theatre, Rohan moved to Wagga Wagga and completed a BA in Television Production at Charles Sturt University. Then, with the lure of big city lights and commercial TV beckoning, he ran away to become a film maker in the Northern Rivers. Here Rohan has explored the use of video for a variety of theatrical and artistic projects including art exhibitions, large scale projections, performance art and live streamed events. He has worked with NORPA on the creative development of Dreamer and was Director of Projections for The Building Still Lives and the Northern Rivers Conservatorium Art Centre’s Silver Jubilee Concert. In his spare time Rohan also teaches and coordinates screen and media courses at Lismore TAFE. ‘I was never much of a painter. But with video, the light does all the hard work for me’.

Karl Johnson

Karl Johnson

Lighting Designer

NORPA’s Production and Technical Manager since 2001, Karl has 25 years experience in lighting design and production management. Credits include Company B, Sydney Theatre Company, Melbourne Theatre Company, Urban Theatre Projects, Powerhouse Youth Theatre, Lismore Lantern Parade and collaborations with many artists such as Noel Tovey, Deborah Leiser-Moore and Michael Hennessy. Most recently worked as Lighting Designer and Production Manager for NORPA’s Dreamland.

Photo | Lisa Sorghini

Peter Sutherland

Peter Sutherland

Stage Manager

Pete has had a career in Stage Management that spans two decades and many significant theatre companies in Australia. He has also worked internationally. Djurra is the first time Pete has stage managed for NORPA, however he has toured through the Lismore City Hall many times with the Bell Shakespeare Company. The directors Pete has stage managed for include Nakkiah Lui, Claire Christian, Todd MacDonald, Kate Cherry, John Bell, Wesley Enoch, Robyn Nevin, Neil Armfield, Michael Gow, Stephen Page, Andrea Moor, Jason Klarwein, Judy Davis, Simon Phillips, Richard Wherrett, Peter Evans, Debbie Allan, Garry McDonald and Roger Hodgeman. Some highlights of Pete’s career include stage managing John Bell’s final show as Artistic Director of the Bell Shakespeare Company The Tempest 2015 and the tenth anniversary revival of David Page’s award winning one-man-show Page 8 for Bangarra Dance Theatre.

Photo | Kate Holmes


Ajita Cannings

Ajita Cannings

Creative Assistant

After touring with Circolino Pipistrello (Switzerland) Ajita returned to Australia to become Director of The Riverina Young People’s Theatre, work with atyp, and to form Word of Mouth Productions, a NORPA in-schools partnership.
She began working in Indigenous Theatre with the Pitjantjatjara people as Production Assistantand Choir Master on BigArt’s Ngapartji-Ngpartji and went on to work with the Githabul People as Assistant Director on NORPA’s Butheram Goyoomgan project and Bundjalung young people as Artistic Director of Yoogumbeh for the Northern Rivers Community Legal Centre. Ajita then worked with communities as writer and director of It Takes a Village for Multitask and of The Incomplete History of the Rock Valley Hall.
She worked with schools in NSW and QLD as Assistant Director on NORPA’s Engine and went on to train as a secondary Drama and English teacher. Ajita is currently heading up NORPA’s Education program and will be tutoring young people at their Summer Theatre Intensive in January 2018.

Photo | Kate Holmes


 

Performances

Djurra premiered as part of NORPA’s 2017 Season, during the inaugural ArtState conference and festival in Lismore. It was our highest selling show in 2017.

THE MAKING OF DJURRA

Djurra had its genesis in NORPA’s Three Brothers project. In 2016 we lost one of our cherished creative team members, David Page.

April 2016 | VALE DAVID PAGE

“Mr Page was one of NORPA’s cherished creatives with Three Brothers, as a composer and performer.

He was also a tradition-bearer, a new knowledge-keeper, a man of great depth and obligation.

Every day his work involved our old music and songlines of ancestors and the old ones . He exposed the world to our Dreaming, to our voice, devoting himself to reviving culture and making it meaningful to us today. Through his music Mr Page healed so many of us.

As an actor he had great depth and craft, he had that cheeky cheeky smile and it was his comic timing and ability for mimicry that established him as one of our great stage performers.

There are no words to comfort in this very sad passing, but there is love and there is commitment to ensuring this great artistic leader is honoured for his profound contribution not only to the Indigenous community but to the Australian community.”

Rhoda Roberts, Co-Director

About Three Brothers (2013 – 2016)

A universal story of family legacy and cultural identity.

Through the language of dance, song, storytelling and imagery, renowned Aboriginal theatre and dance practitioners are collaborating to develop a powerful new work – Three Brothers.

The three brothers come from a small town. The family are 2,500 generation Bundjalung, 5th generation Irish.

Their growth as men, discovering the beauty and pain of an uncertain future, reminding them of their strong connection to their heritage in a town that heaves with the silent guilt of theft and injustice. They recall real experiences of brutality, dehumanisation, denial and their survival, facing this new era of decolonisation.

Each son reveals very different versions of their journey; of custodial obligations and individual quests to undertake and understand who and what they are, or could become.

Visually stunning and heartbreakingly raw, Three Brothers is inspired by a Bundjalung creation story. It looks at family relationships, generational trauma and the struggle to be heard. Told through a series of vignettes, strong physicality and contemporary Aboriginal voices.

three brothers Creative team and cast

Directed and devised by Rhoda Roberts and Julian Louis, the creative team includes Kirk Page, Romaine Moreton, Tibian Wyles, Djon Mundine, Guy Simon and Mitch King.

The following artists have also contributed to the development of Three Brothers since 2013 – Choreographer Frances Rings, Writer Melissa Lucashenko, and Performers Billy McPherson, Thomas E S Kelly, & Damion Hunter.

Community Partners

Our Community Partners on Djurra are:
Gulingah Local Aboriginal Land Council
Bundjalung Elders Council
The Northern Rivers Conservatorium

Photos | Kate Holmes