Seasons of Skin and Bark


George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens, Darwin City

August 8-16, 2021
Darwin Festival

Download Program

Director's Notes

How does an ancient tree perceive the world it inhabits? How does the 80-year life span of a human determine our capacity to connect with the natural environment and the environments we create? Set against cyclical seasons that are ever-changing, affecting both plant and animal life, we observe that humans are just one part of the Earth’s different time spans.

The Seasons of Skin and Bark delves into this intelligence and places it beside a human perspective to examine how we co-exist with the natural world; allowing us to think about connections and communication through vast networks and over long time-frames. Scientific studies, conducted around the world, confirm what has long been suspected: Trees are far more alert, social, sophisticated, and even intelligent than we thought.

Set underneath the canopy of a surviving rain-tree in Darwin Botanical Gardens, uprooted by the extremes of Cyclone Tracy in 1974, a diverse cast of local dancers move to a driving original soundtrack in a show that makes visible connections we all have to this place where we live.

David McMicken and Tim Newth

Creative Team

Concept and Artistic Directors: Tim Newth and David McMicken
Choreographers: David McMicken, Jessica Devereux, Kate Mornane and Kelly Beneforti (creative development)
Designer: Tim Newth
Musical Director: James Mangohig
Musical Collaborator, vocals: Lena Kellie
Lighting Designer: Chris Kluge
Costumes: Cj Fraser Bell

Interview with Cj Fraser Bell


Anokai Susi, Bintang Daly, Brinda Magar, Bryn Wackett, Eleanor Rushforth, Ellen Hankin, Jenelle Saunders, Kate Mornane, Lucy Found, Maari Gray, Omaya Padmaperuma, Perrine Orlandini, Piper Mules, Ruttiya McElroy, Sarah Lacy, Sheila Rose, Sophia Hodges, Stephanie Spillett, Stephanie Thompson, Tara Schmidt, Teresa Helm and Venaska Cheliah

Photos of Performers and Creative Team


  • Send And Receive - Information passes through plant networks
  • Follow The Sun (1) - The seasonal motion of plants in response to the sun
  • Intertwine - Incremental unfolding of the forces of the natural world, fuelling a quiet ferocity
  • Gene Mutation - The smallest of mutations can lead to the largest of changes
  • Follow The Sun (2)
  • Flesh And Stone - Simultaneously rooted in the past, breathing in the present, and growing into the future
  • Plants With Attitude - Some plants love a display
  • Storm - The chaos and energy of our monsoonal rain season

Intertwine was remounted in September for SPRING.LOADED.DANCE in Alice Springs - read more

Storm Lyrics by Lena Kellie

2020 Seasons of Skin and Bark - Creative Development

Stage Whispers Review - Geoffrey Williams

Production and Promotion Personnel

Production Manager: Duane Preston
Stage Manager: Cat Hart
Assistant Stage Manager: Johanna Hayes
Lighting and Show Technician: Chris Kluge
Soundtrack Mastering: Subsonic Music and Sound - Matt Cunliffe
Box Office Manager: Yasine Boehme
Head Steward: Sally Crawford
Promotion/Media: Adelaide Wood and Jo Shearn
Poster Image and Design: Mark Marcelis
Advertisement: Campaign Edge Sprout
Film Documentation: Northern Visuals - Steven Hoare and Justin Murphy
Photographic Documentation: Duane Preston

Thank You

Creative Development 2020 - Ann Gibb and Kelly Beneforti, George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens' staff especially Nigel, Sharon and Jasmine, Naina Sen, Territory Spring Water, NT Correctional Services, the Gardens Events and Functions Centre, all contributors to our Plus1 fundraising campaign and Front of House Volunteers - Anthony Burridge, Annmarie McLeod, Carina Burridge, Ingrid Laudzevics, Joan Kieboom, John Sullivan, Janet Phillips, Krissy Magee, Kittianant Chaipanukiat, Matt Jong, Peta Alderson, Thevi Chelliah, Tanya Faulkner, and Wendy Portlouis.

Company Partners

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.

Project Partners

Darwin International Airport

Tracks 2021

Artistic Co-Directors: David McMicken and Tim Newth
Company Director: Adelaide Wood
Administrator: Jo Shearn
Production Manager: Duane Preston
Dance Animateur: Jess Devereux
Bookkeeper: It Figures

Committee Members: Venaska Cheliah (Chairperson), Andrea Wicking (Vice-Chairperson), Glenn Bernardin (Treasurer), David Taylor, Michael Grant, Ken Conway, Max Dewa Stretton, Rachael Wallis. David McMicken, Tim Newth, Adelaide Wood (Ex-Officio Members)

Public Fund Trustees: Maari Gray, Will Crawford and Lachlan Peattie

Patron: Her Honour the Honourable Vicki O’Halloran AM, Administrator of the Northern Territory




Performance Season

Sun 8 Aug (Preview)
Mon 9 Aug (Opening)
Wed 11 - Thu 12 Aug
Sat 14 - Mon 16 Aug (Aug 16 cancelled due to COVID Lockdown)
7.00 pm


George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens, Darwin City

Explore Further

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2021 Artistic Program



“The sensitivity of the performers, the ebb and flow, subtlety and power of the choreography, and the incredible soundscore carried me through with joy in my heart." - Kelly Beneforti

"Thank you for another beautiful site-specific work. Loved the tree and its many changing states. So lovely to see dancers I know working collectively and creatively with you. The original soundscape was incredible and I really enjoyed it. Really captivated by specific sections- lots to digest and reflect on, so many perspectives to take in which were stunning. I loved how you cleverly used this space and tree."  - Sarah Calver

"Stillness – a greatly underutilised aspect in choreography for contemporary dance – is used here to immensely moving and illuminating effect. Stillness in dance is only possible when the choreographers trust their instincts as much as they trust their ensemble, and the many reflective moments of complete stillness throughout the work are brilliantly realised. They provide us with the meditative opportunity to rest, wonder and absorb our surroundings and the wonder of the many intricacies of the performance unfolding before us." - Geoffrey Williams, Stage Whispers

"With such a diverse spread of styles and tones, the choreography reflected many different cultures and experiences of people in Darwin. It also had a feeling of looseness which I have always associated with Darwin; this sense of escapism that comes with the Tropics.” - Piper Mules, cast member

"Tracks Dance has been supporting my development as an artist since I was in high school. Every project I have participated in, they continue to see potential in me and help me grow.” - Spillett, cast member 

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