In an exciting collision of dance and architecture, a new immersive visual-theatre experience invites a thought-provoking notion: what would your home say if it could speak?
Internationally renowned, Sunshine Coast choreographer Melissa Lanham is collaborating with architect Samantha Taylor in bringing Poetical Inhabitants to The Events Centre. Poetical Inhabitants will see an eerily beautiful and serenely volatile skeleton of a house placed inside the theatre. And within, dancers reveal the story of a couple, their relationship and the echoes of the home’s past identities.
Prior to its exclusive performance on August 24, Melissa chatted with My Weekly Preview about all things immersive dance and Poetical Inhabitants.
What is immersive dance theatre and what do you love about it?
Immersive dance theatre is a term used to describe performances where the audience not only views the show from the front, but is also immersed into the experience with sight, sound, touch etc. A complete atmospheric experience.
Where did your passion for this style of dance begin?
I’ve always loved this form of theatre, but I guess the earliest was in the early ’90s when I saw actors perform a Shakespearean play through the streets of Sydney. Theatre is immediate and fleeting. No two performances are ever the same. When you add the element of ‘breaking the fourth wall’, as it were, so that audiences can fully experience what is happening in and around them, the performance becomes all-encompassing.
What has inspired Poetical Inhabitants? Poetical Inhabitants came from the idea that although our dwellings are mere bricks and mortar, it is the memories and the constructs of our time in these places that indelibly imprint on these spaces. If your dwelling were a person, constantly evolving over time from the memories that these walls have seen, what would they say?
How was the collaboration with Sam Taylor?
I had the privilege of working with designer and architect Sam Taylor to design and build a translucent house that could be viewed from every angle. The set can be placed in a rainforest, on a tennis court or on a beach for people to engage with the installation during the day, then to witness the performance at night.
What might audiences expect in this installation?
A life-sized house (skeletal), placed within the main theatre of The Events Centre. Everything is white, including wire structures of everyday items like teapots and plants. As you enter the space, you are encouraged to walk around the set to view it as an installation before taking your seat to watch the performance and the inhabitants of the ‘house’.
How long has it taken to put Poetical Inhabitants together?
The show was originally commissioned by Horizon Festival in 2021. However, due to the pandemic, it has taken a little longer to fully realise.
What: Poetical Inhabitants
Where: The Events Centre, Caloundra.
When: Thursday, August 24, at 1pm and 7.30pm.
Tickets: From $20.
Bookings: Call 5491 4240 or visit theeventscentre.com.au.