Alive with the Dreaming!

Senior desert dancers of Kungkarangkalpa: the Seven Sisters Songline, will fly from the red sands of Central Australia to alight by the lake for a series of performances at the National Museum of Australia. The ancient chants of the Western Desert epic song saga of the Seven Sisters will fill the night as the dancers join people from all over the continent to celebrate the Centenary of Canberra. By singing up the living cultural routes of trade, story, dance, art and music that criss-cross our country, they will symbolically join the nation’s capital to the nation’s heart.

In Aboriginal cultures across Australia, and in other cultures around the world, the Pleiades and Orion star clusters are associated with the story of the Seven Sisters. It is a universal story of man pursuing woman, of lust destroying love. The actions of these grand creation beings remind us of our common human frailty. As we celebrate Canberra’s Centenary, events such as this will help us reflect on our diverse multicultural origins and celebrate what unites us as a nation.

This earthy performance of ancestral power will be performed under the stars at the National Museum of Australia. It traces the epic narrative and high drama embodied in the Seven Sisters saga as it unfolds along the songlines of the Western Desert. Artistic Director Wesley Enoch will work with the Kungkarangkalpa dancers and the senior custodians of the song saga in their own country. Contemporary dramatic devices will bring this archetypal creation story to life.

Wesley Enoch is renowned as a director and writer for the stage and in 2010 became the first Indigenous head of a state theatre company when he was appointed Artistic Director of the Queensland Theatre Company. His most recent work includes Nargun and the Stars (Performing Lines), The Man From Mukinupin (Company B/Melbourne Theatre Company), One Night, the Moon (Malthouse Theatre) and a revival of The Sapphires (Company B/Black Swan Theatre Company). As a playwright his works include The Story of the Miracles at Cookie's Table (which won the 2005 Patrick White Playwright's Award), The Sunshine Club, Life of Grace and Piety, Black Medea and he collaborated with Deborah Mailman on The 7 Stages of Grieving. Wesley directed the Indigenous section of the 2006 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony.

Kungkarangkalpa: Seven Sisters Songline will be presented by ANANGU Dancers from the APY Lands in partnership with the Australian National University ARC Linkage project: Alive With Dreaming! Songlines of the Western Desert and the National Museum of Australia as a celebration of Australia's vibrant indigenous culture.
This performance is being developed and will reach its finale in 2016.

Kungkarangkalpa: the Seven Sisters Songline pilot performance is co-produced by Dr Diana James, ANU and Helen Healy, HHO Events, for the Centenary of Canberra Unit.

Kungkarangalpa: Seven Sisters Songline is a Centenary of Canberra project, proudly presented by the ACT Government and the Australian Government.

Funding partners: National Museum of Australia, Australian National University, Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women’s Council, Ananguku Arts, Palya Fund and SEWPaC.

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