Sydney Festival 2021: Immersive Dance Parramatta Park

Rebecca Varidel
4th Dec 2020

December 2020 of what a year. Time to look forward with anticipation as the details for the Sydney Festival events are announced. January 2021 watch out.

Parramatta Park the heartland of the Barramatta people, will disclose a collection of hidden dances inspired by the landscape with new work by Dance Makers Collective and its Western Sydney youth dance company Future Makers for the Sydney Festival, 21 – 24 January 2021 - In Situ.

Looking forward, yet always remembering to honour past. For thousands of years, Aboriginal people gathered and conducted ceremonies in Parramatta Park. Some of the first exchanges between traditional owners and colonisers took place in this landscape. Today the land has changed, buildings have been erected as a city continues to grow around it.

In Situ takes inspiration from the stories of this landscape to present a promenade style performance, where 20 audience members are taken on a curated journey through the parklands, witnessing 10 solo dance pieces tied together by the environment and sounds around them. The work is a response to the histories of the park, an exchange with the park, an intersection on the path from the past to the future.

Made by today’s choreographers and performed by tomorrow’s, the project sees 10 choreographers invited by Dance Makers Collective working with 10 performers from Future Makers, each creating a solo that is part of a tightly curated walk through the park. Through consultation with local elders Peta Strachan and Julie Webb, interviews with locals and historical stories, the work takes audiences through various areas in the park, responding to the valuable cultural, social and historical biography of Parramatta, and the park. Each solo work is tied to the next with sound created by local Western Sydney sound designer Del Lumanta. Creative Producer Carl Sciberras and Curator Miranda Wheen from Dance Makers Collective have worked with each solo pairing on the curatorial framework of the overall experience.

“In Situ is a feast for the senses. Your own feet provide a steady beat as a rich aural landscape plays in your ears. Dancers moving in and out of the landscape evoke memories, futures, hopes, perhaps nightmares. This has all the pleasures of a walk in the great outdoors and so much more,“ said Miranda Wheen.