UNDER THE BIG SKY

As explorers of the theatrical imagination and poetic ironists of our obsession with identity and lifestyle, this company treads a distinctive path.
— Veronica Kelly, the Australian Dec 4 1998
stunningly beautiful and imagistic.. Australian conceptualisations of the land are evoked with witty economy and surreal visual poetry
— Veronica Kelly, The Australian, Tuesday September 2 1997

PRODUCED BY BRINK PERFORMANCE FOR QPAT'S STAGE X FESTIVAL (1997)

  • DIRECTOR / CONCEPT: Jessica Wilson
  • DRAMATIST / CONCEPT: Ainsley Burdell
  • COMPOSER / CONCEPT:  Rodolphe Blois
  • PROJECTED IMAGE / CONCEPT: Randall Wood
  • PERFORMERS: Matt Wilson, Larissa Chen, Guiliano Perez Reyes & Lynne Kent

Under the Big Sky was an ambitious performance work set on a 20 metre high vertical cliff face, on the banks of the Brisbane River. Contrasting the sublime and the banal, it explored Australia's relationship to landscape and its effect on cultural behaviour.  Drawing on many distinctly Australian visual arts and literary references it was structured as a journey from the romantic view of the landscape (the surface) into the depths of the gothic view (the depths) and back again.  A colonial woman, a water diviner and an explorer were the key characters drawn from both historic and contemporary images. Large scale moving and still projections worked with performers on a complex belaying system, puppetry and live spacialised sound composition.

Under the Big Sky was a ground breaking work in its time, with its use of large-scale projected image on glass slides for an enormous parni projector - the most contemporary equipment available - and innovation in belaying performers to create changed perspective on a wall surface, as well unexplored aesthetic territory. 

Brink Performance Group created 4 major works between 1996 and 1999. All were funded by Australia Council and Arts Queensland and supported by the Centre for Innovation in the Arts at QUT, where Brink were resident artists. The works were HENRY'S SHADOW, set on a dis-used wharf, PAPER CROWN, UNDER THE BIG SKY, and BRITTLE.  The collaborative team was led by Jessica and Ainsley Burdell with artists Rodolf Blois and Randall Wood.

ACADEMIC PAPER: Fear and Desire 'Under The Big Sky': Brink Visual Theatre and the Post-Colonial Australian Landscape. Paul B Makeham.