Smith Street Mall, Darwin City
August 18 - 24, 2019
Reimagining the Heart of the City
We transformed Smith Street Mall and surrounds into a vast open-air theatre. The audience was guided through a whimsical yet thought-provoking journey.
Conceived, developed and directed by Tracks Artistic Co-Directors, Global Positioning was a series of site-specific works with a strong cast of locals. In small vignettes, the dancers created interventions that disrupted our ideas of place, re-invented memories and enabled us to reimagine our city across time.
Our Global Position
Global Positioning occurred loosely in three sections: an observation of tourist movement, a tour of three site specific works, and a final imagining of place influenced by the natural world.
In creating the site specific works, we saw global positioning both as a place on the map, as well as what personal and collective position we might take in thinking about our past, present and future.
Inspired by the history of the Star Picture Theatre, we were led to think about Darwin’s history of race relations, (see the photo in the background of the Global Positioning poster, which is also found on the wall of the Star Village). The movie Jedda was premiered here on January 3rd 1955, with two Indigenous people as the lead roles. The film itself displays an Australia with little understanding of the wealth of Aboriginal culture and a white Australia still deeply connected to the ‘mother country’. In England the film was released under the title Jedda the Uncivilized.
Exploration of a bike friendly city, something that is becoming a hallmark of forward-thinking city designs around the world. This political act of ‘one less car on the road’ creates a way of physically connecting to your community, and fits the current thinking and concerns of global warming. It also delights in the simplicity of being present in your body right now.
Set in the futuristic Charles Darwin Centre, a world class building and landmark in the CBD. Here we reimagened a reverse scenario, travelling up the Paspaley lifts as the experience of a pearl diver being lowered into the depths of the ocean, moving fluidly between past and future.
Place Remembers What People Forget
The blue river on the ground surface of the Smith Street Mall leading to the fountain had us think about the water that flows below our concrete cities and both the physical and spiritual need we have for water in our lives. Thoughts of water drove how the overall work was designed.
Concept and Artistic Directors: Tim Newth and David McMicken
Assistant Directors: Kelly Beneforti and Jess Devereux
Choreography: Jess Devereux, Jenelle Saunders, Bryn Wackett, Jordan Bretherton, Madeleine Brown, Venaska Cheliah, David McMicken, Kelly Beneforti and cast.
Design: Tim Newth
Music Director: James Mangohig
Composers: James Mangohig, Kris Keogh, Paper Toy, David McMicken, with additonal sound from Darwin Audio Tour - A Tale of Four Cities, Spun - True Stories Told in the Territory, and various locals.
Costumes: Ann Gibb
Yvette Kennedy, Katherine Hession, Tara Schmidt, Vicki Nguyen, Darren Edwards, Maria Kypreos, Kate Dyer, Sheila Rose, Jordan Bretherton and Jenelle Saunders
Perrine Orlandini, Shara Maidens, Jordan Tam, Noor Rahmawati, Bintang Daly, Ashifa Putri Noor, Madeleine Brown and Bryn Wackett
Cassandra Wallace, Taylah Anderson, Maari Gray, Ruttiya McElroy, Sarah Lacy, Madeline Schipper, Venaska Cheliah and Jess Devereux
Jenni Sanderson, Darryl Butler, Ellen Hankin, MaryAnn Hinton, Marge Duminski, Nikki Charlesworth-Canning, Pat O'Neill, Toni Vine-Bromley, Val Hristova, Francisca Kleinebeck, Mary Hinchey, Graeme Collin, Boronia Halstead, Carol MacKay, Anne Gardner and Doug Capp.
Katy Moir, Will Crawford, Mim Ellen-Barwell and David McMicken
Production and Promotion Personnel
Production Manager: Duane Preston
Stage Manager: Tiffany Jansen
Assistant Stage Manager: Cat Hart
Site advisor: Katy Moir
Costume Construction: Ann Gibb
Fabric Inflatable: Fran O'Neil and Tim Newth
Head of Lighting: Jeremy Lassemillante
Lighting and Audio Technicians: Tyson Wallent, Miki Ensbey and Tony Rive
Soundtrack Mastering: Matt Cunliffe (Subsonic Music and Sound)
Box Office Manager: Jade Kimm
Head Steward: Sally Crawford
Promotion/Media: Adelaide Wood and Jessica Mellor
Poster Image and Design: Mark Marcelis
Program Layout: Backslap Design
Advertisement: Dreamedia Creative - Steven Hoare
Publicist: Tamara Howie
Film Documentation: Dreamedia Creative - Camera Operators: Luci Caldwell, Mahijeet Singh and Tommy Larkin. Video Editor: Tommy Larkin
Photographic Documentation: David Hancock and Duane Preston
Tour Guides and Tourists - Smith St Mall
The Great Urban Bike Trek - Banker Corner
The Deep Sea Future Wonderland Tour - Paspaley Building
The Historical and Touched by Fame Adventure - Star Village
Place Remembers - Smith St Mall
"Earlier this year I visited my parents in country Victoria. The creek, where I had spent most of my childhood summers, has been dry for the past few years. While driving in the area I saw that most of the local creeks no longer run throughout the year. This coincided with watching a TV program which drew my attention to invisible water and the disastrous side effects of fast fashion. The t-shirt I am currently wearing would have used about 2,700 litres of water to produce. Less than 1% of the world's water is available for consumption by plants, animals and humans.
In 2018 Australia was forced to stop exporting much of its recycling waste to China, which has led to landfill problems that many other countries have already had to face.
Reflecting on such things has influenced this performance; the costumes have been created from ‘second life’ fabrics, be they from local op shops, Tracks’ costume storage or silk parachutes used in the Arafura Games Opening directed by Tracks in 2007. The large fabric inflatable (you will see in the Paspaley site) I made in collaboration with Fran O'Neill in the late 1980’s, it has previously performed in Wangaratta and Melbourne Town Hall and the Melbourne Arts Centre. Other props like the bikes have been borrowed from friends and cast members. The fish lanterns are created from my garden and materials that have been waiting for the past few decades in our storage for this moment of creation and rebirth."
Written by Tim Newth, Designer & Artistic Co-Director
Tracks is committed to creating original sound scores for our major performance seasons. We also want to make sure that as much artistry comes from the Territory as possible, without limiting artistic vision. As in most aspects of making a Tracks Darwin Festival show, the sound track is incredibly collaborative and diverse. It is a complex thing to produce a cohesive score over 7 venues, some indoor, some contained, and some in the wide-open outdoors. Each track is also played through different sound systems, thus affecting their composition and tonal qualities.
For Global Positioning we engaged sound producer extraordinaire and Aria nominated James Mangohig through Skinnyfish Music to oversee the creation of this soundtrack. In this role he sources sounds, composers, makes his own beats, and refreshes other people’s work. Aside from himself, he has sourced compositions from Kris Keogh (Nhulunbuy), and Papertoy (Sydney) and David McMicken (Darwin).
Additional elements of the scores have come from various sources. For The Great Urban Bike Trek Bryn Wackett recorded local people’s stories of bike riding. We also included a story of ABC presenter Charlie King’s father riding from Sydney to Darwin to prove how tough the Malvern Star bike was, (thanks to Caddie Brain’s Darwin Audio Tour: A Tale of Four Cities www.darwinaudiotour.com of which Charlie is the story teller).
For The Historical and Touched by Fame Adventure - Star Village we borrowed a piano sample again from the Darwin Audio Tour as well as a local story from Darwin Elder Mona Adams (thanks to Johanna Bell, Spun True Stories Told in the Territory, and Maisie Austin). One further story from the audio tour tells of Charlie King's father and mother's first date at the cinema on Ranch night, the only night curfew was lifted for Indigenous people at the time. James also remixed some old music from the late 1920’s, putting his own special spin on the beats and drops, adding Serina Pech whistling, guitars, and Brad Firebrace with his mighty narrative voice. For Tour Guides and Tourists the vocals were from Caiti Baker in her Ranger Stacey persona.
In addition, James has various session musicians adding instrumentation, voice overs, and vocals. We include young drummer Isabella playing live as we process down the mall in River. In putting the tracks together James has worked intensely with the choreographers. The music has to sound good and tell the right story, but it also has to be danceable. And then it has to be mixed and engineered for the different systems and venues, decided on by our Production Manager and sound expert Duane Preston. This is where Matthew Cunliffe (Marine Boy) comes in with his sparkle, engineering the tracks to perfection.
In early 2018 Tracks took up residence in the Live Darwin Hub on the Smith Street Mall. We called the residency Tracktivation as our main aim was to activate the city through dance, creating vibrant spaces that made people look at their city in new ways, harnessing un-used potential. Over the three months we became aware of the human ebb and flow through our city centre. Workers in and out of workplaces, and tourists coming off cruise ships often bewildered and always a little over-heated. The ‘Tracktivators’ ran classes, created dance interventions, and were asked to create site-specific works. It is from the experience of this residency and the company’s passion for exploring the relationship between people and place that Global Positioning was born.
Tom Harris (Star Village), Laura Lion and Colin Merrett (Paspaley), Julieanne Wylie (City of Darwin), Kelly Hayes (Activate Darwin), Michael Wells (historical perspectives), Margaret Brickhill, Saranya Rajkumarand Tracks Volunteer Ushers.
Jenni Sanderson, Marijana and Britta at Agentur, Maria Vlastuin, Nickki Charlesworth, Jenelle Saunders, Noor Rahmawati, Perrine Orlandini, Ian Liang and Andrew Arthur for lending us bikes and helmets.
Eve Rivalland, Vicki Kerrigan, Neil Wackett, Jean-Marc Rivalland, Andrew Arthur, Chay & Eldon Arthur, Saranya Rajkumar, Perrine Orlandini, Bintang Daly for their bicycle memories and stories.
Caddie Brain & Charlie King for the Bike story, Darwin Audio Tour: A Tale of Four Cities - Malvern Star story and star arcade sound bed, Serina Pech for vocals and guitar, Maisie Austin and Mona Adams for Star Picture Theatre story for their soundtrack content.
Salty Plum Events and Brian Tucker for the live drummer.
Tracks Inc is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body; and is proudly sponsored by the Northern Territory Government.
Darwin International Airport
Artistic Co-Directors: David McMicken and Tim Newth
Company Director: Adelaide Wood
Administrator: Jessica Mellor
Production Manager: Duane Preston
Dance Animateur: Kelly Beneforti
Associate Artistic Director: Jess Devereux
Bookkeeper: It Figures
Committee Members: David Taylor (Chairperson), Mary Durack (Outgoing Chairperson), Glenn Bernardin (Treasurer), Michael Grant, Ken Conway, Venaska Cheliah, Sudha Coutinho, Max Dewa Stretton. David McMicken, Tim Newth and Adelaide Wood (Ex-Officio Members)
Public Fund Trustees: Dr Anita Toth
Patron: Her Honour the Honourable Vicki O’Halloran AM, Administrator of the Northern Territory
"Until now, my experience of dance has been strictly stage-based and professional, so what a delight to witness the joy and spirit of community dance from Tracks Dance Company. Global Positioning is more than a work about Darwin, it’s an embodiment of it. Blending past and present through dance, storytelling and music, it reveals fresh tales about familiar places and ventures into new worlds. Alive with energy, it shares both universal stories and distinctively Territorian ones. Through clever choreography and the creative use of space, including an inverted underworld seascape imaginatively positioned for the wow factor, this dance starts with a smile and ends with you wanting to join in. If this is community dance, sign me up." - Lisa Louden, Author
"I felt honoured to choreograph for a Tracks show as a young, emerging artist. It was daunting, but a boost knowing that you’ve trusted me to create this piece and to work with 6 amazing performers. This will help me to continue to push my choreography and to keep seeing new things." - Jordan Bretherton, Choreographer
"I have performed in a few Tracks productions and each time, they just get better and better, so much creativity, so unique. I knew
going in that I would be a part of something magical." - Ruttiya McElroy
“Inclusion possibly sums it up best.... within a team of passionate and skilled creatives whose enthusiasm and vision was infectious.
Having been disengaged from dance and performance for a number of years, Global Positioning has offered me the opportunity to dip my toes back into the water while feeling totally supported in doing so in spite of my own insecurities and self doubt.The experience has challenged me in ways I could not have anticipated physically, psychologically and emotionally and piqued my curiosity into the world of the mature dancer and the significance of 'sense of place'.” - Cast Member
“Being in this has sparked my creativity. Not being used to improv (especially with contemporary) and working as a team with other dancers. It has also helped enhance my performance skills.” - Cast Member
“Increased insights into the ability of old and young working well and respectful with each other; but this is a wonderful existing quality of the Tracks team at all times.” - Cast Member
Making Art in the Top End
Read about our other exciting activities throughout the year.
Tracks 2019 Artistic Program