The ACT Natimuk team worked in Bendigo over a ten month period in 2018 to create a new aerial and projection performance centred on the iconic poppet head in Rosalind Park . This new work, one of the Regional Centre of Culture commissions, and supported by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria, the Capital Theatre and the City of Greater Bendigo, captured and expressed stories of Bendigo and its people. Partners in the project included the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation, the Golden Dragon Museum, the Bendigo Historical Society, CreateAbility, Bendigo Field Naturalists, & ZFit.

The Poppet project saw the creation of a new aerial performance and projection spectacular on the iconic poppet head in the heart of Bendigo. The creative team from Natimuk worked together with a broad range of community groups from around Bendigo over a ten-month period to create this work that captured and creatively expressed the unique stories of Bendigo and its people.

Over 16 years of working together in a variety of collaborative combinations these Natimuk artists have developed a unique visual language that involves interactive animation and projections, aerial performance, live shadow play, puppetry, music (mass choir / opera / orchestra), community performance and storytelling.

It is this language that is offered to the community to work together to tell their stories on their iconic structure to their community and the broader audience – a visual poem woven together to create new meanings, new memories, and invite new ways of seeing and understanding through a collage of expression both literal and abstract.

What started as an expression of our desire to make large scale performance turned into a great example of how such projects can engage communities, leading to social cohesion, and a heightened sense of pride of place. In the process, we worked out that we were good at, and enjoyed, the public engagement part of these projects.

For the Poppet project the Natimuk artists, working with local associate producers, collaborated with Bendigo-based community groups/organisations including, but not be limited to, the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans, the Golden Dragon Museum, the Bendigo Historical Society, Camp Hill Primary School and CreateAbility.

Poppet was presented on Saturday October 20th 2018

Core Creative Team

Creative Producer – Greg Pritchard
Director – Jillian Pearce
Projection Artist – Dave Jones
Shadow Artist – Mary French
Dramaturg – Verity Higgins
Sound Design – Russell Goldsmith
Lighting Design – Tom Willis
Local Producers – Kate Stones & Sam Thomas

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