30 JANUARY 2013
Sydney Opera House presents with media partners JCDecaux & SBS
Message Sticks Festival 2013
Celebrating the very best of Indigenous arts
Under the artistic direction of Rhoda Roberts, Message Sticks Festival returns to Sydney Opera House from 19th March - 24th March 2013, celebrating the arts and culture of the world's first peoples, highlighting our own Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists.
Now in its 14th year, Message Sticks Festival is an annual international multi-faceted program showcasing performing arts, traditional knowledge and ritual ceremonies. This year the Festival also honours 200 years since the passing of Woollarawarre Bennelong, who served as a vital mediator between Aboriginal Australians and our colonial forebears.
Message Sticks Festival 2013 highlights include:
• WANTOK: SING SING - Following the Songlines from the highlands of West Papua across the Micronesian Islands to the Polynesian Islands in the east and into the rainforests and deserts of Australia, join this epic musical journey featuring 20 singers, drummers, musicians, dancers under the musical direction of David Bridie.
• DANCESTRY - Dance from across the ages for all ages; street styles, island rhythms and the world's oldest song cycles combine in a choreographic corroboree crossing time, place and space.
• LATE NIGHTS AT BAR BADU - An intimate song circle under the stars where stories and sounds cast their magical spell. Featuring Microwave Jenny, Troy Bray, Hui-A and Street Warriors.
• THE YOLNGU EXPERIENCE - Become immersed in Yolngu culture, as Bennelong point dissolves into North East Arnhem Land - learn, observe and participate in new and surprising ways.
• BILLINUDGEL WEAVERS: The Fabric of Existence - Experience hands-on the way weaving connects you to country, as these skilled artisans share how they've used these plants since the beginning of time.
• I DON'T WANNA PLAY HOUSE - Tammy Anderson wrote and stars in this one-woman-show of beautifully-evoked characters and song, where darkness and trauma never extinguish the flames of inspiration, laughter and the love of life itself.
Sydney Opera House's Head of Indigenous Programming, Rhoda Roberts said, "For thousands of years Bennelong Point, site of Sydney Opera House, has been an Aboriginal gathering point - a place of corroborees, storytelling and ceremony. So it's fitting that here is where the stories continue as this year we mark 200 years since the passing of Woollarawarre Bennelong, one of the most misunderstood men in our combined indigenous and non indigenous Australian histories.
From first contact to contemporary culture, Message Sticks Festival covers a diverse program of amazing performances, exhibitions and events, many of them free - and all against the spectacular backdrop of Sydney Harbour. Whether you are watching a modern-day corroboree on the Western Broadwalk at dusk or becoming immersed in Wantok: SING SING, an epic musical journey featuring 20 international singers, drummers, musicians and dancers under the direction of multi-ARIA winner David Bridie to listening to celebrity speakers addressing the gritty socio-political issues facing the nation, our aim is to engage you in conversation and raise our collective awareness. We look forward to sharing with you the stories that have helped shape this ancient land."
Rhoda is a member of the Bundjalung nation, Widjabul clan of Northern NSW and South East QLD.
Sydney Opera House Chief Executive Louise Herron said, "Sydney Opera House has long celebrated Indigenous arts and culture and our Message Sticks Festival has grown to be an integral part of our national cultural calendar.
2013 is a significant year for both Indigenous Australia and Sydney Opera House. It is 200 years since the death of Woollarawarre Bennelong, a member of the Wangal clan who lived on our harbour side point and who gave our site its name, and it is 40 years since we opened our doors to the public and introduced people to a world of great artists and performances.
Message Sticks Festival is now in its 14th year and will again showcase the artists and knowledge keepers of Australia's traditional custodians. Rhoda Roberts has curated a multi-arts program melding contemporary and traditional Indigenous expression through theatre, dance, song, art and talks."
A complete list of events can be found here www.sydneyoperahouse.com/messagesticks
Message Sticks is supported by the NSW Government through Arts NSW.
What: Message Sticks Festival 2013
When: 19 March - 24 March
Where: Sydney Opera House
Tickets: Free - $65
02 9250 7825 / 0418 656 535