Indigenous dance troupe tackles climate change

A Kimberley theatre company is set to perform a new work on climate change in rural communities, seen from an Indigenous perspective.


The Marrugeku dance troupe’s latest performance “Cut the Sky” fuses dance, song and poetry.

It’s about the Kimberley region in northwest WA, which Dalisa Pigram believes is under threat.

“Heavy industry keeps coming into our communities and it starts to make you wonder about our place in the whole balance of things and our responsibilities as Aboriginal people,” she said.

Ms Pigram – who co-founded Marrugeku and is also a dancer and choreographer – said much could be learned from connection to country.

She said “Cut the Sky” aimed to energise audiences to take action for the environment.

The performance sought to show the past and present, as well as a future dystopia, through Aboriginal eyes.

Director Rachael Swain, who is also a Marrugeku co-founder, said the performance asked: “‘Is it possible for us to dream a different future together if we come at this not from logic and science but from a feeling-ful approach to country?'” 

Kimberley artist and storyteller Edwin Lee Mulligan became involved with the production after his own journey to understanding the effects of climate change.

“I started writing stories on environmental issues, on our current situation, about the past, present and also the future,” said Mr Mulligan, whose spoken word poetry throughout the production is derived from his own dreams.

Cut the Sky will be touring Australia starting at the Sydney Festival tomorrow night, then to Melbourne before heading overseas.

Its creators hope the international language of dance can bring this Australian story to the world.

“So that we can take our very local thing global and hopefully it does shine a light on a different perspective or help see things through a different lens for people who would never know what it’s like to be in the Kimberley,” Ms Pigram said.

The Broome-born-and-bred woman said that neither she nor her troupe pretended to have the answer to environmental imbalance.

That was for their audiences to decide.