IN CHARGE: NORPA's Associate Director Kirk Page is the person bringing together all the elements in Djurra at Lismore City Hall.
IN CHARGE: NORPA's Associate Director Kirk Page is the person bringing together all the elements in Djurra at Lismore City Hall. Marc Stapelberg

Mamooonh conjured by the wind in Djurra

DJURRA is a new, locally developed dance theatre work devised by NORPA, and directed by associate producer Kirk Page.

Meaning 'Lore', the piece is inspired by a Bundjalung creation story.

In the piece, Mamoonh, a Bundjalung revolutionary fatigued by war, hears the lament of his mother Gammi as she conjures the wind.

As the wind gathers into a force, Mammoth returns to Bundjalung country to attend to his dying father with his wife and two sons, only to find there is war brewing on his very own country.

Mamoonh realises he must urgently invoke the magic of ancient Bundjalung customs to guide his sons through lore in order to heal the trauma of the past, make sense of the present, and to envision a future.

Kirk Page said Djurra's story will be told through a series of interwoven vignettes using dance, monologues and video.

"It's a theatre show that looks at scenes about coming home, lore, place and identity," he said.

"It's inspired by The Three Brothers, a Bundjalung creation story, and we are using some4 highly visual, physical storytelling around what is like to be a young aboriginal man today.

"There is an even amount of dialogue and storytelling and visual vignettes."

The work will be the first in a while to house the newly devised work by NORPA after Dreamland was performed at Eureka Hall in 2016 and the second production of Railway Wonderland at the former Lismore train station site in 2015.

"We decided to stage this work here as, having inside a theatre environment allows us to create world and spaces that are not possible in a site-specific work," Kirk Page explained.

The director acknowledged the work done by the production team: Cultural consultant Roy Gordon, performers Joel Bray, Sarah Bolt, Damion Hunter and James Slee, choreographer Jade Dewi, composer Ben Walsh, contributing artists Mitchell King and Blake Rhodes, set and costume designers Charlotte Hayward and Edward Horne, video artist Rohan Langford, lighting designer Karl Johnson and stage manager Peter Sutherland, among others.

Kirk Page acknowledged it's not easy to develop creative work that is respectful to tradition and culture while also accessible to everyone.

"Culture is a very big consideration, and it was always on the back of my mind," he said.

"I was very mindful of the complexities of creating a theatre show inspired on a creation story, to ensure it's respectful.

"It has taken us a long time, so we are culturally sensitive while creating a cultural experience that is entertaining.

Djurra has been a project plagued by obstacles for NORPA.

"It has been bigger than a normal project: on the first week of rehearsals we had one actor suffering a loss in their family, and then another actor got married; plus we had the floods impacting the city and NORPA, so it's been a very big project."

  • At Lismore City Hall from November 29 to December 2, for details visit norpa.org.au.

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