Theatre beyond the spoken word: Sand premieres at RPAC - The Community Leader and Real Estate New and Views

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Combining Indigenous Australian culture, Japanese drums, dance, and projection sounds like a mighty undertaking, but that’s what audiences will experience at SAND’s world-premiere performance at RPAC.

Sydney-based Taikoz have mesmerised audiences around the world with their dynamic drumming performances. As one reviewer said, “You don’t just listen to this music. You see it and feel it, too. It’s totally compelling.”

And now they’re coming to Redlands to work with Belloo Creative on the world premiere of SAND.

Acclaimed playwright Katherine Lyall-Watson, co-founder of Belloo, has crafted a narrative that she says draws its inspiration from stories of Quandamooka Country and ancient Japan.

“The inspiration for SAND came from a few different sources: the stunning book Woman in the Dunes by Kobo Abe, Wail/Whale Rock at Point Lookout, which has always drawn me to it (when Wesley and Uncle Norman spoke about its significance for Quandamooka people, it just seemed so pertinent for this piece) and the impermanence of our world. Even mountains and rocks that we think are permanent features are whittled down by time and weather and eventually become sand. It made me reflect on our place in the world, as individuals and as a species.”

Wesley Enoch, internationally acclaimed Quandamooka playwright, artistic director and Indigenous consultant, is the dramaturg for this production. He sees SAND as a meditation on connection to place.

“This production takes theatre beyond just the spoken word,” he says. “Contemporary theatre can bring into play a whole mix of media to engage the audience. You get to learn something more about yourself and the world you live in; the experience isn’t just intellectual, it’s deeply emotional.”

Wesley says that braiding the various strands of the production is an exciting process that highlights the universality of human sensibility.

“I’ve been to Japan a number of times and I’m fascinated by their spiritual sense of connection to landscape and health practices like ‘forest bathing’, spending time in a forest to make that connection with land. Uncle Norman and I have been working on the way that it links in with cultural roots in Quandamooka country.

“Redland Performing Arts Centre has provided us with a wonderful opportunity to hear stories and perspectives about us in our own country and to reflect on who and where we are – and that’s really a role for all arts centres.”

The title, SAND, is an intuitive choice.

“I think sand as an element has different resonances in different places,” says Katherine.

“We discovered in Japan that people really related to the theme of impermanence, rising seas and shifting sands. But it’s hard to find anywhere as beautiful as Minjerribah’s pristine beaches; we are so lucky to have this magical island so close to us and are so grateful to Uncle Norman and other Quandamooka elders for sharing its stories
with us.”

Wesley feels that the piece is more about connections than differences.

“I think of sand as a metaphor, a moving thing in our lives that ebbs and flows and is as numerous as the stars. Contemplation of that can help us figure out where we fit in the world.”

SAND will take the stage on Friday June 21 at 7:30pm in the RPAC Concert Hall. To book or for more information on the program call 3829 8131 or visit

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