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8 – 11 May 2024

In the Studio


Through raw physicality, humorous skits, and a power anthem soundtrack, we disrupt the silence of a 250+ year struggle. The same questions echoed through generations. SILENCE pulls the Treaty conversation out from under the rug and slams it back on the table. Because the conversation about a TREATY cannot be silenced in Australia.

Is this the Commonwealth of Australia? Yes? This is your Landlords speaking!

Funny and irreverent and reverberating with power… If you think you know Australian contemporary dance, you haven’t seen SILENCE. With thrashing live drumming and a raw aesthetic, Thomas E.S. Kelly has combined intimate storytelling with significant moments in Australian history as SILENCE interprets an ongoing conversation for a new generation.

There’s silence between the stars as the Emu travels across the night sky. There’s silence in the dancer’s energy when they hit the cut, the rupture between rhythms and movement creating a vibrational glitch for the spirit world to enter. It’s also the deafening silence under White noise.

We have marched across our Country. We have had promises made and promises broken. We stand on a stage, to the beating of a live drum kit, as bodies thrash through white noise to continue the conversation. Towards action. Towards resolution.

Jhindu Lawrie’s audacious rock drumming full of dynamism, grunge and raw power calls back to Thomas E.S. Kelly’s choreography, in brash, yet vulnerable and visceral scenes, with Kelly’s trademark charm and wit interspersed in between.

Produced by BlakDance

Sydney Opera House and Karul Projects present

SILENCE is produced by BlakDance and the national tour has been assisted by the Australian Government through Creative Australia, its principal arts investment and advisory body, through Playing Australia.

SILENCE is bold and uncompromising

Richard Bell

A highly sophisticated piece of theatre, where entertainment happily weds subversion

Stage Whispers

High intensity dance meets live percussion

Koori Mail

A sneak peak of the riveting performance


Creators and artists

Thomas E.S. Kelly

Thomas is a proud Minjungbal-Yugambeh, Wiradjuri and Ni-Vanuatu man.

Thomas graduated in 2012 from NAISDA Dance College and has since worked with Vicki Van Hout, Shaun Parker and Company, Branch Nebula, ERTH, Chunky Move, Dancenorth, The FARM, Tasdance, Outer Urban Projects, GUTS and Urban Theatre Projects.

His choreographic credits include his Green Room Award winning work [MIS]CONCEIVE, CO_EX_EN, SILENCE, WEREDINGO and KURAMANUNYA. His works have toured nationally and nationally.

Thomas creates work that explores high intensity physical works stemming from a cultural practice fused with contemporary, which incorporates voice and physical percussion. Creating work that ebbs and flows whilst mimicking nature. Thomas creates work that reveals subject matters that offers an opportunity to learn and develop. Remembering the past to better understand the present so we can move forward into the future.

In 2017 Thomas co-created Karul Projects. A new company led by new First Nation voices telling new stories. Karul Projects is situated in South East Qld and Northern NSW, Australia.

Thomas is the 2018 Dreaming Award Recipient, a 2019 American Australian Association Alumni.

His work [MIS]CONCEIVE won a Green Room Award for Best Choreography from an Emerging Artist and a nomination for Best Male Dancer and in 2016 and Best Dance Award at the Adelaide Fringe 2020. CO_EX_EN was nominated for Best Work and Best Performer at the 2019 Green Room Awards. Weredingo was nominated for Best Male Supporting Actor and Best Projection and Animation at the 2021 Matilda Awards. In 2018 Thomas received the Dreaming Award.

Thomas E.S. Kelly, Minjungbal-Yugambeh, Wiradjuri and Ni-Vanuatu

Rehearsal Director/Performer
Taree Sansbury, Kaurna, Narrunga and Ngarrindjerri

Choreographic Dramaturg
Vicki Van Hout, Wiradjuri

Alethea Beetson, Kabi Kabi/Gubbi Gubbi and Wiradjuri

Percussion Composer/Performer
Jhindu-Pedro Lawrie, Mirning and Wuthathi

Benjin Maza, Yidindji, Birri Gubba, Meriam Mer and Tanna Island
Keia McGrady, Githabul Migunberri-Yugumbeh
Glory Tuohy-Daniell, Indjalandji-Dhidhanu and Alyewarre
Olivia Adams, Wulli Wulli
Tamara Bouman, Birpai

Music/Sound Designer
Sam Pankhurst

Lighting Designer
Karen Norris

Costume Designer
Selene Cochrane


Other information

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