April 28, 2014

Bangarra, Patyegarang, Jasmin Sheppard and Thomas Greenfield, photo by Greg Barret 2MBAustralia’s multi award winning dance theatre company, Bangarra Dance Theatre, will present the world premiere national tour of Patyegarang at the Sydney Opera House from June 13 to July 5.

Patyegarang marks the first time that Bangarra has told a specific Sydney story, based on historical events and documents.

This powerful and historically important new work acquaints us with Patyegarang, a young Aboriginal woman of intense and enduring courage, and an inspiration today for the respect of Aboriginal knowledge and language. As the colonial fleet arrived on Eora country in the late 18th Century, Patyegarang befriended Lieutenant William Dawes, gifting him her language in an extraordinary display of trust and friendship, which now inspires our imaginations about ‘first contact’.

This deeply moving production is told through the acclaimed creativity of Stephen Page’s choreography and David Page’s soundscape, in a powerful and meaningful dance theatre experience.

The role of Patyegarang will be played by Bangarra dancer Jasmin Sheppard, who joined the company in 2007 and has performed in eleven productions, both internationally and nationally.

South Australian born physical performer Thomas Greenfield will join Bangarra as a guest artist, performing the role of Lieutenant William Dawes. Greenfield’s performance with the company marks the fourth time in Bangarra’s history that a non-Indigenous dancer has performed with the company.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2014, Bangarra Dance Theatre is Australia’s premier national Indigenous performing arts company. Under the brilliant and inspirational artistic direction of Stephen Page, Bangarra has strived to maintain the cultural integrity and spirit of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tradition, combining it with contemporary expressions of stories, dance and music. Bangarra creates dynamic, moving theatrical experiences and delivers these experiences to audiences across Australia and around the world.

Sandra Tiltman