Snakes, Gods & Deities


Gardens Park Golf Links, The Gardens, Darwin

August 25 - 29, 2004
Darwin Festival

Freedom from Fear

Snakes Gods & Deities features live drumming and dance with international guest artists from Sri Lanka’s Sama Ballet. It explores a journey into a freedom from fear. Imagine a life of release from phobias and deeply held fears: from fear of darkness, snakes and bugs, through to fear of losing part of ourselves, our youth, our spirit and our sense of control.

Director's Notes

In 2002 I spent four months on a cultural residency in Sri Lanka, hosted by Monks from a Buddhist Temple near Kandy and members of the Sama Ballet Company. I experienced a richly diverse Sri Lanka, and witnessed and participated in many extraordinary cultural and celebratory practices that had the power to transform - dances, rituals and ceremonies that to me were exotic but to the locals were a vital part of their lives. Performed for the well being of the community, these dances could ward off sickness, fear or ‘evil’, taking people to heightened emotional states.

Here the artists had a connected and respected role, valued as an important aspect of the community’s health. As an artist, I have wished my own role within the community to be seen this way.

Just before my Sri Lanka visit, ‘stuff’ was happening in my life that forced me to confront fear. During a visit to the Darwin Buddhist Temple something happened, it felt like a sign which I have been unravelling since. "Meditating, eyes closed, legs crossed, sitting on the floor. I feel a sensation of something on my knee, a bug, a cockroach even. I keep my eyes closed. A few moments later I feel the same sensation on my other knee. It gets the better of me. I open my eyes. A snake is wrapping itself around my legs."

In Sri Lanka, I cross paths with snakes each week, as I lived a life of SNAKES GODS & DEITIES.

Tim Newth

Creative Personnel

The final ideas and choreography for this performance come from the performers, directors, and various cultural influences.

Concept / Direction: Tim Newth
Assistant Director: David McMicken
Choreography: Ajith Amarasiri, Jolanda George, Julia Gray, Rukshana Sashankan, Julia Quinn, Yoris Wilson, Richard Broughton
Music: Airi Ingram and Prasanna Rupathilake
Costumes: Cristina Pantazis and Louise Rieck
Lighting Designer: Matthew James
Floor Painting: Paul Myatt, Rachel Hooper
Paka Haka Routine: Richard Broughton
Soo Bahk Do Routine: Jarrod Fong

Production and Promotion Personnel

Promotions Manager: Sue Mornane
Poster Image and Design: Mark Marcelis
Publicist: Sue Camilleri
Lighting and Production Management: Matthew James
Sound: Elka Kerkhofs
Stage Construction: Neil Hawkes
Additional Set Construction: David Taylor
Lighting / Production Assistant: Daniel Lade
Stage Manager: Karen Maxwell
Snakes NT: Chris Peberdy, Ben Wright and Lisa Milliner


Jolanda George, Julia Gray, Rukshana Sashankan, Julia Quinn, Yoris Wilson, Marko Taopo, Erwin Fenis, Paia Ingram, Justine Maxwell, Richard Broughton, Airi Ingram

Guest Artists from Sama Ballet, Sri Lanka:
Ajith Amarasiri, Prasanna Rupathilake, Matotage Hemachandra, Dinesh Alwis

Phlufi, Kudls, Ziinar


  • Talking drums, talking bodies
  • Honouring the Gods
  • Blind-folded by fear. Fear of not knowing, of taking action, of consequences. Finding strength
  • The snake - A sign of unrest. A sign of strength. Freedom in knowledge
  • In the body of Bollywood, of a mother, of culture, of me
  • The Snakes Gods and Deities

The performance incorporates four traditional dancers from Sama Ballet:

  • Vas Pooja – Kandyan Dance
  • Naga Gurulu – Cobra and Eagle fighting
  • Gini Sisila – Fire Eating Ritual
  • Thelme – from Devol Madu (dance of the princess)

Tracks 2004

Artistic Directors: David McMicken and Tim Newth
Company Manager: Sue Mornane
Dance Animateur: Julia Quinn
Youth Trainee: Marko Taopo
Bookkeeper: Heather Richards
Development Consultant: Suzanne Fermanis

Committee Members:  Jackie Wurm (Chair), David Taylor (Vice-Chair), Glenn Bernardin (Treasurer), Kyleigh Hindson (Secretary/Public Officer), Ken Conway, Donna Quong, Jill MacAndrew, Kay Brown (Ordinary Committee Members), David McMicken and Tim Newth (Ex-Officio Members)

Public Fund Trustees: Rev. Steve Orme, Dr Anita Toth, Paul Wan



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Media Responses

"Snakes Gods and Deities is a reminder of what Darwin can do better than most other places: the outdoor, site specific event…. including large live snakes, a fabulous Bollywood sequence, Maori Haka and break dancing, this was eclecticism run riot, reined in by the precision of the aesthetic as exemplified by the setting." Suzanne Spunner Realtime

"…incorporated drumming, firedance, Bollywood and of course large live snakes to entrance and excite audiences who have come to expect the highest standard of entertainment and spectacle from Tracks. They were not disappointed!" Karen Maxwell - Queer Territory

Audience Response

"An extraordinary display of talent, passion, creativity, and innovation. Loved It!"

"Sensational, we loved it, great energy. Very high quality and professional."

"Absolutely fantastic and beautiful."

"Brilliant. Very distinct flavours, and electric."

"Absolutely fantastic. I’ve seen the Sri Lankan Drumming/dancing before and loved it - but brilliant in combination with the others. The live drumming was excellent!"

"An awesome production everything was absolutely brilliant, setting, scenes, music, dancing, everything. Thankyou."

"Tracks always put on amazing performances. Congratulations."

"Amazing, stimulating, visually fantastic, loved the percussion, atmosphere, diversity of cultures, costumes, lighting, initiative, every senses felt it."

"Where else would ‘you’ be under such beautiful trees; in the warm, looking up at the moon, watching such dancing; different cultures, such feeling for $12. Thankyou. Enrapture!"

"Fantastic performance from the very beginning until the end. Fantastic venue"

"Enjoyable - excellent dancing. Brilliant background."

"Excellent performances - beautiful setting - loved those trees and lights and drumming. Such talented dancers"

"Venue, lighting, performance, choreography, music, atmosphere - simply wonderful!!!"

"I loved the snakes."

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