Wudjang: Not the Past
Bangarra Dance Theatre co-production with Sydney Theatre Company
Director and choreographer: Stephen Page
Co-written by Alana Valentine
Roslyn Packer Theatre
January 14 – February 12, 2022
One of the greatest losses during the lockdown was the absence of the Bangarra Dance Theatre from the stage – although not online. With our recent freedom, this iconic company is back with a new and a first-time co-production with the well-loved Sydney Theatre Company (STC) which will premiere at the Sydney Festival 2022.
Wudjang: Not the Past, an epic-scale contemporary work, features Bangarra’s clan of 17 dedicated and astounding dancers and well-known and -loved actors from the STC supported by Bangarra’s unequalled team of creatives. Bangarra alumni and remarkable woman, Elma Kris, will join this heady and exciting mix.
Directed and choreographed by Bangarra’s artistic director and national treasure Stephen Page, and co-written by award-winning playwright Alana Valentine – the same team who created the powerful and haunting Bennelong – Wudjang: Not the Past promises to be a breath-taking theatrical experience.
Combining Mibinyah poetry, oral storytelling and live music with Bangarra’s distinctive dance language, Wudjang: Not the Past brings the past, present and future together in an evocative story urging us to acknowledge, listen and learn from the past.
Bilin, a Yugambeh man, is working with an excavation crew when just before dawn they come upon some bones. He recognises them as ancestral bones and persuades the crew to let him keep them. The ancestor, Wudjang, with a young companion spirit, Gurai, teaches knowledge of the past, of the earth, of songlines, through dance and song nurturing a new generation, giving them the strength and grace to sustain them into the future. Eventually Wudjang is given the burial she longs for in a traditional resting place on Country.
The immense potential for beauty, for passion and for profound emotion within this narrative is readily apparent, and theatregoers will eagerly respond to the opportunity to share in both a stunningly artistic performance and the generously offered illumination of First Nation ceremonial knowledge.
Sydney tickets are available from October 26 at: https://www.bangarra.com.au/productions/wudjang-not-the-past/