Presented by Karul Projects and Arts House
Wednesday 1 – Saturday 4 November
Post-show artist talk
Thurs 2 November, free for all ticketholders
Tactile Tour and Audio Described Performance
Fri 3 November
A small transaction fee will be charged per order.
Water based haze and strobe lighting will be used in this performance.
North Melbourne Town Hall
521 Queensberry St,
Hunted for their duality, shapeshifters meet in secret to safely change into their animal forms and congregate with their feathered and furry brethren.
‘Come in, grab a bickie and a cuppa. All shapes and kinds are accepted here, this is a safe space – but not your usual support group.’
Weredingo is a profound and playful work of dance theatre that challenges the western interpretation of shapeshifting. In the western context, shapeshifting is limited to folklore and pop culture. However, shapeshifting for First Nations people reflects past, present and future.
Through sharp movement and text, Weredingo follows the intertwining journeys of three shapeshifters, exploring their experiences and physical powers. It covers the good, the bad; the cultural, the political; the pain and the pleasure. Led by a First Nations team, this story is brought to life alongside beautiful animations by Studio Gilay and projection by Wirrim Studios.
If you’re ready to join the support group, wear your animal loud and proud. Whether fur, fleece or feathers, beaks, claws or tails – all animals and outfits are welcome!
“In Weredingo, Kelly again draws in his audience, making his point with insightful wit, terrific dancing but, above all, masterful storytelling.” – Dance Australia
About the artists
Thomas E.S. Kelly (Minjungbal-Yugambeh, Wiradjuri and Ni-Vanuatu man), and Taree Sansbury (Kaurna, Narrungga and Ngarrindjeri), met at NAISDA Dance College on the Central Coast of New South Wales in 2010. They have worked professionally together ever since, creating their own dance-theatre works, choreographing and performing for companies nationally. After graduating, Thomas and Taree identified a need to increase and highlight First Nations bodies, voices and stories told and heard on major platforms. With just one federally funded Indigenous dance company supported in Australia, it became important for Thomas and Taree to create more opportunities for employment and skill building with a focus on First Nations artists.
In 2017 they created Karul Projects, a new First Nations led dance company to provide more pathways for artists and audiences into First Nations culture and arts. Karul provides emerging First Nations artists with vital employment opportunities on First Nations led projects, as well as mentorship and guidance for future makers.
In 2018 Karul Projects relocated to the Gold Coast, Queensland, answering a need to contribute to growing the local artistic community. Karul Projects work within the boundaries of cultural borders including the Tweed Shire. With that they ensure First Nations art is embedded in the identity of the developing arts community.
Thomas E.S. Kelly
Choreographer and Performer Thomas is a proud Minjungbal-Yugambeh, Wiradjuri and Ni-Vanuatu man. Thomas graduated in 2012 from NAISDA Dance College and has since worked with Vicki Van Hout, Shaun Parker and Company, Branch Nebula, ERTH, Chunky Move, Dancenorth, The FARM, Tasdance, Outer Urban Projects and Urban Theatre Projects. His choreographic credits include his Green Room Award winning work [MIS]CONCEIVE, CO_EX_EN, SANDCIRCLE and SSHIFTT.VESSEL for Outer Urban Projects, MASS for Chunky Move and Junjeiri Ballun – Gurul Gaureima for Tasdance. Thomas creates work that explores high intensity physical performance, from a cultural practice fused with contemporary, incorporating voice and physical percussion. Creating work that ebbs and flows while mimicking nature, Thomas explores contemporary issues that offer an opportunity to learn and develop. His motto is: to remember the past to better understand the present, to move forward into the future. Thomas created Karul Projects in 2017; a new company led by new indigenous voices telling new stories. Karul Projects is situated in Southeast Qld and Northern NSW. Thomas is the 2018 Dreaming Award Recipient and a 2019 American Australian Association Alumni. Thomas was also awarded the 2017 Green Room Award for Outstanding Choreography by an Emerging Artist/Choreographer for [MIS]CONCEIVE .
Taree Sansbury is a performance artist and emerging choreographer. In 2013 Taree graduated from NAISDA Dance College. Taree’s bloodlines connect to Kaurna, Narungga and Ngarrindjeri nations. Drawing upon her cultural heritage as a standpoint, Taree works with this knowledge to inform her creative process alongside a mixture of contemporary dance, theatre and language revival. 2018 Taree premiered her first full-length work, mi:wi , at the Next Wave Festival, with successive presentations to various venues in South Australia in 2019 and QPAC in 2020. In the last 7 years as a performer Taree has worked with some of Australia’s highly acclaimed independent makers such as Vicki Van Hout, Martin Del Amo, Victoria Hunt and with companies, Legs on the Wall, Force Majeure and Branch Nebula. In 2018 Taree became Co-artistic Director of new performing arts company Karul Projects. Taree has performed in numerous Karul Project’s works including [MIS]CONCEIVE, CO_EX_EN, Weredingo and the most recently premiered SILENCE this year at Brisbane Festival.
Benjin Maza is Yidindji, Birri Gubba, Miriam Mer, Tanna Island, Brisbane based singer/songwriter, dancer and actor. A graduate of the Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts (ACPA) 2010. In 2012 he toured with Queensland Theatre’s production Stradbroke Dreamtime directed by Sue Rider, covering regional Queensland. Benjin debuted at La Boîte Theatre Company with Steven Oliver’s From Darkness as a part of Brisbane Festival 2019. Benjin has also been a part of numerous creative developments in musical theatre, theatre and dance at venues such as QPAC, Laboite Theatre and more. Benjin is also a part of an Indigenous Fusion dance group called eXcelsior, performing at various events such as: the NRL’s All Stars, Sydney Opera House’s Homeground, Woodford Folk Festival and Boomerang Festival at Byron Bay Blues Fest and the Commonwealth Games in 2018. Benjin joined forces with artist, Alinta to birth Balairi – performing original music and covers at community and corporate events. Benjin’s most recent work has been with Karul Projects as a part of ‘Silence’, debuting Brisbane Festival 2020.
QT Associate Artist, based in Cairns, Isaac Drandic is an actor, director and dramaturg who specialises in new First Nations work. Previous productions include Meyne Wyatt's City of Gold.
Vicki Van Hout
Vicki Van Hout is an Indigenous independent artist with over 20 years’ experience. A graduate of NAISDA Dance College and the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance in New York, she went on to perform with major Indigenous dance companies, Bangarra Dance Theatre and the Aboriginal Islander Dance Theatre, before joining forces with Marilyn Miller as a founding member of Fresh Dancers. With Marilyn, Vicki performed Dear Carrie for One extra Dance and Quinkin for the Adelaide Fringe Festival. Her show Briwyant was the first ever show by an independent Indigenous choreographer to tour nationally and was nominated for an Australian Dance Award for Best Achievement in Independent Dance. Vicki was awarded the 2014 NSW Dance Fellowship for established and mid-career artists – the first Indigenous winner of the Fellowship. She has also completed various residencies in Australia and overseas, including in Austria and Singapore.
Chloe Ogilvie is an Indigenous, Lighting Designer based in Perth where she graduated from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (2015). Chloe works mostly as a designer but has crossed over into other areas such as Production Management and Event Coordination. Chloe was a resident Artist with Black Swan for two years and assisted on many productions (Assassins, The Events, Xenedies) and even designed her own show (Our Town). Chloe Ogilvie is also a member of the arts collective The Farm where she has designed and production managed a range of shows including Throttle (Matilda Award Nominee), Cockfight (Drover Award Winner), Ninth Wave, Tide (Helpmann Award Winner) and Depthless. Other highlights of hers include, Spinifex Gum (LD/ALD), Winyan Boga Yurringa (Belvoir, ALD), Fever and the Fret (Yirra Yaakin, LD), Bayala (Sydney Festival, Event Coordinator) and Toast (Maiden Voyage Theater Company, LD).
Selene Cochrane has been a costumier for over 25 years. Beginning in the fashion industry, she eventually moved into theatre and performance art. Her designs have featured in her work for performer Christine Johnston, with whom she continues to work. Their most recent collaboration was for Christine’s role as “The Old Lady” in Opera Queensland’s production of Candide (2015). As Wardrobe Supervisor and Resident Designer for Queensland Ballet from 1998 to 2003, Selene designed and made costumes for many productions including The Little Mermaid, Don Quixote and Sleeping Beauty, some of which toured throughout Australia and Internationally. While working with the dancers, Selene developed an extensive knowledge and love of making costumes that can “move” with the body. She has also created costumes for many dancers, acrobats and companies including Expressions Dance Company and Circa Contemporary Circus. Along with her freelance work as costume designer and maker, Selene is also currently working as Wardrobe Coordinator at Circa.
Sam Pankhurst is an Australian contrabassist, composer, improviser, producer, curator, and interdisciplinary artist. Samuel has performed with Allan Browne OAM, Paul Grabowsky, Katie Noonan, Missy Higgins, Iain Graindage, Louis Burdett, John Rose, Kate Miller Heidke, Erkki Veltheim, Andrew D’Angelo (USA), the Sun Ra Arkestra, Brian Ritchie (USA), Erik Griswold (USA), Vanessa Tomlinson, Tony Buck, Bernie McGann, The Brodsky String Quartet (UK), Mike Nock, and Indigenous artists William Barton and Aunty Delmae Barton. He is a member of the Australian Art Orchestra and has premiered works by Alvin Lucier (USA), Nicole Lizee (CAN), and Paul Grabowsky. His collaboration with Butchulla songman Fred Leone - Yirinda - combines ancient Butchulla songlines with his eclectic contrabass and compositional style. Stand out acts at 2019 Supersense: Festival of the Ecstatic, they were artists in residence at MONA FOMA 2019, and performed at Golden Plains festival 2020. Samuel is currently developing a large scale installation/performance piece with legendary Indigenous artist Archie Moore. He is working on a major commission to write for the Australian Art Orchestra and Yirinda, along with a new sound design for prominent Indigenous dancer/choreographers Thomas E.S. Kelly, and Preparing Ground collective (Marilyn Miller, Jasmin Sheppard, Katina Olsen).
Rehearsal Director: Taree Sansbury
Performers: Vicki Van Hout, Benjin Maza, Glory Tuohy-Daniell
Dramaturg: Isaac Drandic
Lighting Designer: Chloe Ogilvie
Animation: Studio Gilay
Projection: Wirrim Studios
Music/Sound Designer: Sam Pankhurst
Costume Designer: Selene Cochrane
The premiere production of Weredingo was produced by BlakDance and supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland, the City of Melbourne through Arts House, and was developed in the CultureLAB program with the assistance of Creative Victoria. Weredingo is supported by BlakDance, through BlakForm. BlakForm is funded through Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund – an Australian Government initiative. This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.
Image Credit: Mick Richards