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The Complication of Lyrebirds

Photo by Samuel James

Performances Thursday 21 – Saturday 23 January 2021 

Wednesday 20 January – (preview) 7.30pm 
Thursday 21 January – 7.30pm 
Friday 22 January – 6pm and 8.30pm 
Saturday 23 January – 4.30pm* and 8.30pm  

The Complication of Lyrebirdsis a contemporary dance work designed to break away from the social expectations of what it means to look or sound Aboriginal. Lead artist  Jasmin  Sheppard  draws on her own experience and her family roots to look at questions surrounding Aboriginal identity through the story of the lyrebird. 

The lyrebird adopts the calls of other birds in order to appear attractive and find a mate however, there is an authentic identity to the bird that is no mimic. In the same way, Indigenous people are faced with external pressures to prove their ‘blackness’ and adopt different ways of talking and appearing. Considering this, Sheppard proposes that if your family was denied their culture by the impact of colonisation, then what really makes you Aboriginal?   

Re-contextualizing historical documents, such as ‘The White Australia Policy’ and ‘The Exemption Form’, as choreographic tools,  The Complication of Lyrebirds investigates societal and cultural sources of expectations and pressures, as well as drawing on the artist’s own lived experience, to create a unique and powerful choreographic narrative.  

Concept, Director, Choreographer, Dancer:Jasmin Sheppard 
Co-Collaborator, Dancer: Kaine Sultan Babij 
Sound Designer, Composer: Naretha Williams 
Composer, Musician: Cris Derksen 
Video Artist: Samuel James 
Lighting Designer: Karen Norris  
Props Designer: Emily Adinolfi   
Costumer Designer: Fiona Holley 
Producer: Anthea Doropoulos 
Assistant Producer: Matt Prest and Nikoleta Minns 
Production Manager: Tyler Fitzpatrick 
Sound technician: Andy Lysle

Accessible – tactile tour, audio description, auslan interpreter, relaxed

The Complication of Lyrebirds is presented by Campbelltown Arts Centre and Sydney Festival 2021.

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