A powerful journey of human connection through climate chaos from Australia’s leading Indigenous intercultural dance theatre company 

Sydney, Australia: Carriageworks will present Marrugeku’s Cut the Sky, a breathtaking exploration of climate change, community, and survival through a collision of dance, video, poetry, and song, from 4-13 July. 

Set in the north of Western Australia, Cut the Sky follows climate refugees, displaced traditional owners, miners, and more as their journeys intertwine. Beginning in a near-future, they face ever present end times. Tossed together in an extreme weather event, they shape-shift and are propelled through time in their search for water, for connection, for the future. 

With music by Ngaiire and Tanya Tagaq, and spoken word passages sharing the unique perspectives of Edwin Lee Mulligan, this powerful dance theatre piece from Australia’s leading Indigenous intercultural dance theatre company is a poignant call to action, asking what it takes to dream a different future together. 

Cut the Sky premiered at Perth Festival in 2015, before making its Sydney debut at the 2016 Sydney Festival. It has received rave reviews, described as an ‘exhilarating and original work’, ‘a raw, thought-provoking, aspirational production,’ and a ‘mind-blowing intercultural and interdisciplinary performance’ from ‘seriously gifted performers of admirable intensity and commitment.’ 

Led by Dalisa Pigram and Rachael Swain, Marrugeku brings nearly three decades of innovative dance theatre to the stage. As a resident company of Carriageworks, Marrugeku has a long relationship of making and presenting work in partnership with the creative industry hub. 

Marrugeku Artistic Co-Director and Director of Cut the Sky, Rachael Swain, said: “In the years since its premiere, Cut the Sky has been recognised as a premonition and a warning. Scenes of people huddling in flimsy shelters against a sky burning in intense orange light, initially set 50 years in the future, arrived just 5 years later with the extinction events of the 2020 bush fires in south east Australia. The impact of extreme weather events portrayed in choreography and video to stage decades of escalating global warming, hurled into the north west for real in 2023 causing the mighty Fitzroy River to swell to 50kms wide with previously unimaginable force, shifting and reshaping all in its wake. Now, as we continue to accelerate into the climate altered future and company members homelands are under serious threat, the creative team have regrouped to restage the prescient work with a diverse cast of new and original Indigenous and settler dancers, singers and storytellers.” 

Marrugeku Artistic Co-Director and Co-Choreographer of Cut the Sky Dalisa Pigram, said “Observing the impact of the high stakes debates over the extraction of gas in Marrugeku’s home town of Broome, we took a local lens to amplify issues of international significance, painting a picture of ways these issues have played out in the remote north west communities over time, to show how land is not only acted on, but also acts in abrupt, unpredictable ways. In the work, the songs, dances and stories give voice to those who have spoken up before, to acknowledge the social contexts of climate justice born of colonial damage and to engage the need for shared responsibility. Like the arc of the production itself Marrugeku looks back to look forwards as we continue to ask is it possible to dream a different future together?” 

Marrugeku’s Cut the Sky forms part of the newly introduced Carriageworks Stages program, which will see Carriageworks present an expanded array of stages works in 2024. In addition to Cut the Sky, in July Carriageworks will play host to the multi-award winning Counting and Cracking by Belvoir St Theatre, the premiere of swim presented by Griffin Theatre Company, and Erth’s immersive Dinosaur Zoo. 

Carriageworks CEO, Fergus Linehan, said: “Marrugeku has a rich history of creating groundbreaking works that challenge and inspire, and Cut the Sky is a shining example of that. Carriageworks is proud to be an original commissioner of this work, although it has never been staged here and so this presentation feels like a kind of homecoming. It’s our honour to present this important work during our inaugural Carriageworks Stages season.”  

Cut the Sky has been funded by the Australian Government through Creative Australia, its principal arts investment and advisory body, the Western Australian Department of Culture and the Arts, Australian Research Council, Australian Government Attorney General office – Ministry for the Arts, Department of Foreign Affairs, Arts Tasmania, Arts NSW and City of Sydney. Cut the Sky was commissioned by Theater Im Pfalzbau, Ludwigshafen, (Germany), Carriageworks (Australia), Koninklijke VlaKVS Schouwburg – KVS (Belgium), Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg (Luxembourg) and Centre Culturel Tjibaou Nouméa (New Caledonia).

Cut the Sky will be presented at Carriageworks from 4-13 July, and tickets are on sale now.