Performance Space: Buruwan

The Fox and the Freedom Fighters_Lucy Parakhina_editorialPerformance Space, Australia’s leading experimental arts organisation, presents Buruwan; a season of interdisciplinary works that showcase a broad spectrum of Australian artists. A Dharug word for ‘island’, the name Buruwan aptly frames five works that tackle forgotten moments in our history, explore the Australian gothic, and highlight the politics of our distinctive landscape through an exciting range of artforms.

Presented at Performance Space’s home base, Carriageworks, the four-week program features projects that are built on the collaborative efforts of some of Australia’s finest artists, resulting in works that seamlessly merge forms to create immersive, intimate and aesthetically striking experiences.

Buruwan features the works and worlds of iconic Torres Strait Islander artist Ken Thaiday Senior, as well as Alice Osborne & Regina Heilmann, Clare Britton, Halcyon McLeod, Kate McMillan & Cat Hope, Rhonda Dixon-Grovenor & Nadeena Dixon, and more.

Jeff Khan, Artistic Director of Performance Space, sees Buruwan as an ideal opportunity to present national talent in a season of works that pay tribute to our ‘island home’.

“Continuing Performance Space’s tradition of thematic seasons of work, Buruwan is a critical reflection on contemporary Australia,” says Khan.

“Whether we’re exploring hidden moments in our history through the untold story of freedom fighter Chicka ‘The Fox’ Dixon, unveiling histories of imprisonment and colonisation on island locations around Australia, or simply celebrating Torres Straight Island culture with Ken Thaiday’s magnificent dance machines, these stories are all deeply rooted in our culture.”

Ken Thaiday Senior
Continues to 23 November

Renowned Torres Strait Islander artist Ken Thaiday’s extraordinary ‘dance machines’ traverse dance, installation and sculpture to explore the intersection of traditional Torres Straight Islander lore with contemporary life. The first major co-commission between Carriageworks and Performance Space, this large-scale exhibition will occupy the Carriageworks public space throughout the duration of Buruwan.

The Moment of Disappearance
6 – 29 November
Visual artist Kate McMillan and composer Cat Hope join forces for The Moment of Disappearance, an installation that unveils the intertwining histories of imprisonment and banishment linked to three island locations around Australia and the Greek island of Pondikonis. McMillan and Hope will work in partnership to create an atmospheric, immersive landscape of sound and video, resulting in an exhibition that traces the legacies of the Enlightenment to their colonial manifestation in Australia.

Falling Woman
26 – 29 November
The Australian premiere of an extraordinary new physical theatre work, Falling Woman is the brainchild of Halcyon McLeod (My Darling Patricia) and Alice Osborne, which subverts the literary trope of the ‘fallen woman’. Set against lush and threatening Australian landscapes, the Falling Woman fights to break a cycle of continuous physical torment. She navigates a landscape of obstacles under the watchful eye of The Witness; a mysterious stranger in gold shoes.

The Fox and the Freedom Fighters
12 – 22 November
A new theatre work about Aboriginal activist Charles ‘Chicka’ Dixon, told from the perspective of his daughter Rhonda Dixon-Grovenor and granddaughter Nadeena Dixon. An iconic figure in Australian history, Chicka’s political activism left his family at the wayside at the height of his success. This is their story, a deeply personal recollection of the life and legacy of a man whose contribution to Indigenous cultural history is immeasurable.

12 – 15 November
Following the success of IOU and IOU2, the first iterations of this evening of short dance works, IOU3 will harness the power of dance. This season features a selection of solo works from independent NSW choreographers – the very best local dance talent, presented by Performance Space in association with the University of New South Wales – Creative Practice Lab.

Buruwan also features a series of workshops, performance lectures, film nights and discussions with established industry professional. The program is an opportunity to delve into the wider thematic, conceptual and political ideas around Buruwan through a series of curated public programs.

Performance Space invites the audience to join the conversation and open up a critical dialogue around processes, outcomes, and the experience of engaging with each work. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: The Fox and the Freedom Fighters – photo by Lucy Parakhina