Sydfest2021 Blak Out Event: The Complication of Lyrebirds

January 20, 2021 – January 23, 2021 all-day
$30 + BF

Venue: Campbelltown Arts Centre

Location: 1 Art Gallery Road, Campbelltown NSW


The Complication of Lyrebirds is a contemporary dance work designed to break away from the social expectations of what it means to look or sound Aboriginal. Lead artist Jasmin Sheppard draws on her own experience and her family roots to look at questions surrounding Aboriginal identity through the story of the lyrebird.

The lyrebird adopts the calls of other birds in order to appear attractive and find a mate however, there is an authentic identity to the bird that is no mimic. In the same way, Indigenous people are faced with external pressures to prove their ‘blackness’ and adopt different ways of talking and appearing. Considering this, Sheppard proposes that if your family was denied their culture by the impact of colonisation, then what really makes you Aboriginal?

Re-contextualizing historical documents, such as ‘The White Australia Policy’ and ‘The Exemption Form’, as choreographic tools, The Complication of Lyrebirds investigates societal and cultural sources of expectations and pressures, as well as drawing on the artist’s own lived experience, to create a unique and powerful choreographic narrative.

Runtime: 60 mins

Performance Times

Wed 20 Jan at 7.30pm (preview)
Thu 21 Jan at 7.30pm (opening)
Fri 22 Jan at 6pm
Fri 22 Jan at 8.30pm
Sat 23 Jan at 4.30pm*
Sat 23 Jan at 7.30pm

* Relaxed Performance w/ Audio Description, Auslan Interpretation and 4pm Tactile Tour