A mo­ment in the sun


Perth Fes­ti­val au­di­ences will have a chance to roam through the Sun­set Her­itage Precinct in Dalkeith to mu­sic by Perth com­poser Rachael Dease when Strut Dance presents Sun­set as part of Perth Fes­ti­val.

IF the walls of Sun­set Her­itage Precinct could talk, they would have many tales to tell.

Es­tab­lished in 1904 as Clare­mont Old Men’s Home, the Dalkeith site housed agri­cul­tural work­ers, gold prospec­tors and for­mer con­victs strug­gling to sup­port them­selves be­fore it be­came a pub­lic hos­pi­tal from the mid-1960s to 1995.

While the ma­jor­ity of the her­itage build­ings re­main off-lim­its due to safety rea­sons, Perth Fes­ti­val au­di­ences will have a chance to glimpse the site’s se­crets when Strut Dance presents Sun­set at the venue from Fe­bru­ary 7 to 17.

The im­mer­sive dancethe­atre ex­pe­ri­ence, led by UK di­rec­tor-chore­og­ra­pher Max­ine Doyle, will pro­vide an ad­ven­ture as au­di­ences roam through the dusty shad­ows to mu­sic by Perth com­poser Rachael Dease.

“The venue lends it­self to feel­ing like it’s in some kind of pur­ga­tory and that runs through the work quite a lot. It feels like an aban­doned world,” Dease said.

“There’s some­thing spooky, it feels there are ghosts in that space; not nec­es­sar­ily nasty ones, just ones that have a lot of sto­ries.”

Dease said au­di­ences would wan­der through dif­fer­ent spa­ces in this in­ti­mate work com­mis­sioned by Perth Fes­ti­val as one of six ‘Made in WA’ of­fer­ings.

“The au­di­ence ca­pac­ity num­ber is quite small (100 peo­ple) con­sid­er­ing the space that we’re in is so big, which is al­ways spe­cial,” she said.

“I was talk­ing to Max­ine this week and I think the best way to de­scribe it is that it feels like you’re in a film. It’s quite a cine­matic work that re­lies heav­ily on sound and light­ing.

“But there is an in­ti­macy there as well with the per­form­ers in them­selves and with the au­di­ence.

“There are some very ten­der mo­ments but also some quite bom­bas­tic ex­pe­ri­ences.”

Just as the name of the pro­duc­tion im­plies, Dease said Sun­set was a per­for­mance best viewed “as the sun sets or af­ter dark” to max­imise the ex­pe­ri­ence.

“Work­ing there dur­ing the day doesn’t make the work come alive as much as it does at night,” she said.

“I al­ways look for­ward to the shadow play and I feel like a frus­trated light­ing and set de­signer, so I’m al­ways re­ally ex­cited when I get to see what Matt (Adey, light­ing) and Bruce (McKin­ven, set) have been do­ing.

“I think what they’re cre­at­ing with these per­form­ers is go­ing to be quite ex­tra­or­di­nary.”

www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d489337 Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie

Com­poser Rachael Dease says Perth Fes­ti­val com­mis­sion Sun­set is an im­mer­sive and vis­ceral dance-the­atre ex­pe­ri­ence in­spired by the his­tory of the Sun­set Her­itage Precinct.

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d489337

Com­poser Rachael Dease is work­ing on the Perth Fes­ti­val com­mis­sion Sun­set, a dance-the­atre ex­pe­ri­ence in­spired by the his­tory of the Sun­set Her­itage Precinct, the for­mer hos­pi­tal and aged­care home near the Swan River.

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