What's On

While You Sleep

Sal Cooper & Kate Neal

Presented in Season 2 2018

World Premiere
Music, performance & animation

7.30pm, Wed 7 Nov
7.30pm, Thurs 8 Nov
7.30pm, Fri 9 Nov
7.30pm, Sat 10 Nov
6pm, Sun 11 Nov
60 mins
$35 / $30 / $25

Arts House
North Melbourne Town Hall
521 Queensberry St,
North Melbourne


Image result for Wheelchair accessibleImage result for audio description symbol
Wheelchair accessible
Audio described – 7.30pm, Fri 9 Nov

Listen to the audio introduction

Show Program:
PDF version
Word version

An aural and visual excursion into both the musical fugue and the psychological ‘fugue state’, While You Sleep unites string quartet, piano, electronics, video and animation in a surreal counterpoint of music, movement and image where nothing is quite as it seems.

Exploring flight, escape, memory and dissociation, While You Sleep is both contrapuntal experiment and escape from the present. Embracing the elaborate complexity of the musical fugue – where a phrase is introduced by one instrument and then taken up by others – the work weaves gesture, design, light and immersive visuals. Hand-drawn animation, live action, video and stop-motion are choreographed alongside the musicians on the stage.

Alluding to experiences that prompt the fugue state’s loss of self, While You Sleep dives into memory, uncertainty and our own delicate, repeated patterns of behaviour. Dark, subtle, surprising and moving, While You Sleep deftly probes the uncertain landscapes between grief and identity, reality and illusion.

“…the fusion of these two forms at times worked so beautifully that the action on stage was mesmerizing…” Australian Arts Review, on Semaphore

Sal Cooper
Creative Directors:
Sal Cooper, Kate Neal
Kate Neal
Screen-Based Media:
Sal Cooper
String Quartet:
Zachary Johnston, Isabel Hede, Phoebe Green, Katherine Philp
Jacob Abela



Daniel Schlusser
Systems Designer:
Sam Doyle
Bosco Shaw
Sound Operator:
Robert Downie
Project Manager:
Wally Gunn
Claire Portek, Bureau of Works


Supported by – While You Sleep is supported by the Besen Family Foundation; Bureau of Works; The Melbourne Music Prize; The   Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body and the City of Melbourne through Arts House.

Image by – Bryony Jackson