Standing Bird

A contemporary dance/theatre/film work

Standing Bird


Stage One Development 2008 -2009

Eliza is a (working title) dance/theatre work that explores the combination of the elements of digital imagery, puppetry, and contemporary choreography, with an evocative original 'live' sound score.

The performance focuses on the character of an ordinary woman, and takes key stages of her journey as metaphors for a contemporary exploration of survival. What are we prepared to do in order to survive? This is contemporary dance theatre expressed through revelation of character. She is a character that is complex, ambiguous, contradictory and ultimately in her essence, human. The narrative reflects upon themes of isolation and dislocation, asking what is our connection, our fear of the unknown and unknowable that arguably is the Australian experience of landscape.

Standing bird represents Sally Richardson's continuing creation of original, accessible works that investigate and incorporate interplay of forms, styles and genres, and an ongoing exploration and interest in telling uniquely Australian stories in a contemporary context.

Direction/concept: Sally Richardson
Production Design: Zoe Atkinson
Choreographers: Chrissie Parrott, Danielle Micich, Paea Leach
Puppetry: Philip Mitchell
Sound Design: Kingsley Reeve
Vision Design: Ashley de Prazer
Performers Shona Erskine and Jacob Lehrer

A short dance film ELIZA was produced as part of the Stage One Development.
It was presented as part of the Dance on Screen program for Ausdance Dance Week 2010

Stage Two Development 2009 - 2010

Photographer/film maker Ashley de Prazer and director Sally Richardson worked with choreographer/performer Paea Leach on a short dance work and film that explored material generated from the first stage ELIZA development. Standing Bird explored the powerful emotional landscape that is a woman alone in the desert. The work was also inspired by the poetry of Judith Wright

Standing Bird: Choreographed and performed by Paea Leach, was presented as part of SHORTCUTS (Strut) October 1-4, 2009

Review excerpt:

Paea Leach's evocation in Sally Richardson's Standing Bird inhabits an alien Australian landscape, struggling against oblivion. The will to freedom predominates but, .. Leach is framed by shadows, voyeuristically driven by Richardson's roving lamp. Elevated on a platform, Leach conveys entrapment through alternating wind-caught sobs and dust averted gazes. Her performance captures that sense of being distant and present in a shimmering mirage that pervades excursions into a desert's singularity: instead of the compression of time, she is trapped in no time. It is a figment of being totally without flight in a baked earth environment, perhaps the wrong environment, foreign and unforgiving. This wingless bird is left standing under its menacing ahistorical shadow. Leach's performance powerfully gains because of its juxtaposition with as a creature denied its own death. Standing Bird illustrated how a performer can overtake the limitations of construction. (Realtime Australia)

Stage Three Development 2011 -2012

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Creative Team:

Created by: Jacqui Claus, Danielle Micich & Sally Richardson

Vision Design: Ashley de Prazer

Sound Design: Kingsley Reeve with Kyle Morrison

Dramaturgy: Humphrey Bower

Costume: Fiona Bruce

Lighting: Mike Nanning

Operation: Joe Lui

Performed by: Jacqui Claus and featuring (on film); Shona Erskine & Sally Richardson

Producer: Fiona De Garis - Performing Lines WA


Jacqui Claus is a real star! Rita Clarke - Dance reviewer

Some dancers are born to perform alone. Jacqui Claus is one of these rare creatures..Claus is a commanding artist, and each part of her body speaks to the audience, right down to her articulate toes Each composite part is beautifully realised..there are many magical moments ..The interaction of movement, shadow and projection is another highlight of Standing Bird. The final section of the work is triumphant.. Nina Levy - The West Australian

I really enjoyed the work, and thought it was a delicate and richly textured performance, and all your collaborators did beautiful work. I thought the rhythm and shaping of the work was sublime also, holding us all breathless through the incredible climax... Chris Bendall - Artistic Director, Deckchair Theatre

Claus has conquered, and she has made this solo work her own. She ably provided the sheer physical and emotional depth demanded by this full-length work. Much credit also goes to creator Sally Richardson, who has gathered together many of WA's leading performance artists in dance, film, theatre and music over the years to produce this world-premiere event. Rating: 4 out of 5 stars - ArtsHub Review


  • 7 February 2012 Premiered Fringeworld: Summer Nights at PICA,
  • 2011 - 2012 Stage Three Development
  • October 1-4, 2009 Standing Bird: Choreographed and performed by Paea Leach, was presented as part of SHORTCUTS (Strut)
  • 2009 - 2010 Stage Two Development
  • 2008 -2009 Stage One Development


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Blue of Distance

歸屬 GUI SHU (Belong)


Steamworks Arts acknowledges the Traditional Owners of this country across Australia, recognising their continuing connection to land, waters and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures; and to elders both past, present and emerging.

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