Bangarra returns to Newcastle's Civic Theatre

05 Feb 2018

Bangarra Dance Theatre's incredibly moving OUR land people stories is coming to the Civic Theatre Newcastle on Friday and Saturday 9-10 February as part of a seven-stop regional tour.

When OUR land people stories premiered in 2016, it was acclaimed as “imaginative and evocative” (The Age), “visually spectacular” (Dance Australia) and “strong, resonant and resilient” (ArtsHub).

Artistic Director Stephen Page and the choreographing trio of Jasmin Sheppard, Beau Dean Riley Smith and Daniel Riley will shine light on Australia’s history through contemporary dance, striking costumes, visual art and vibrant soundscapes.

"I am very excited to welcome Bangarra back to Newcastle after 9 years to open Civic Season 2018," Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.

"We are thrilled Bangarra have committed to spend three days in our city engaging with high school students, our local Aboriginal Peoples and Indigenous dance groups."

Civic Theatre Manager Vanessa Hutchins said that "Newcastle audiences will enjoy these moving stories of country and accounts of Indigenous heritage and experiences expressed through Bangarra's internationally renowned powerful dancing and distinctive theatrical style -- this work showcases what Bangarra stands for."

OUR land people stories is a triple bill bringing three personal and profound works, NyapanyapaMacq, and Miyagan to the Civic Theatre's main stage. Stephen Page said he is excited to be on the bill with three artists who are "the next generation of cultural leaders."

“I’ve always said that, along with community relationships, it’s the dancers who inspire our stories, and it's their heritage, their experience, their families and where they come from that permeate our productions; that’s where the heart and spirit comes into it and why our productions are so unique and moving,” said Page.

Bangarra is a company at the peak of its powers; don’t miss your chance to see them live on stage in 2018.

About the works

Page’s contribution to OUR land people stories, Nyapanyapais inspired by the life story and paintings of Indigenous visual artist Nyapanyapa Yunupingu, whose work depicting the personal trauma of a buffalo mauling won her the 2008 Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award.

Nyapanyapa's latest artworks depicting dancing girls have inspired Page's work, in which 17-year Bangarra veteran Elma Kris plays the revered North East Arnhem Land artist.

Dancers will also portray a dark chapter in Sydney's colonial history under Governor Lachlan Macquarie, in choreographer Sheppard's wryly titled Macq.

Macq explores the decimation of Sydney's Aboriginal community in an eye-opener for those unaware of the brutal "March of Macquarie" in 1816, when he authorised three military detachments to march into Sydney's interior "to inflict terrible and exemplary Punishments" on Aborigines in response to "their hostile incursions".*

Many landmarks in Australia are named after Macquarie, and Sheppard questions who the man actually was.

Beau Dean Riley Smith and Daniel Riley will also present Miyagan (“our family”, pronounced Me-ya-gun), a poignant dance story mapping their cultural heritage from Wiradjuri country in New South Wales.

Related by a great-great grandfather, the Rileys got to know each other – and their family history – while dancing together at Bangarra and together explore the Aboriginal kinship system and their meaning to communities and to their own family tree.

Blak composer Paul Mac, a Helpmann and ARIA award winner, has created the music for this work, his second for Bangarra.

OUR land people stories
Civic Theatre Newcastle
Friday 9 February 8pm
Saturday 10 February 8pm
For tickets, visit
or contact the Ticketek Box Office 4929 1977


Choreography Stephen Page
Music Steve Francis
Set Design Jacob Nash
Costume Design Jennifer Irwin
Lighting Design Matt Cox

MACQ (2013)
Choreography Jasmin Sheppard
Music David Page
Set Design Jacob Nash
Costume Design Jennifer Irwin
Lighting Design Matt Cox
Cultural Consultant Frances Bodkin

MIYAGAN (2016)
Choreography Beau Dean Riley Smith and Daniel Riley
Music Paul Mac
Set Design Jacob Nash
Costume Design Jennifer Irwin
Lighting Design Matt Cox
Cultural Consultant Diane McNaboe, Lynette Riley

* The Governor's Diary & Memorandum Book Commencing on and from Wednesday the 10th. Day of April 1816. — At Sydney, in N. S. Wales.