hybrid theatre

RISING, a collaboration commissioned by the VCA

After working on RISING since March 2019, it was finally published online and exhibited at Martin Myer Arena, part of Melbourne’s Open House weekend.  The commission of 30 VCA graduates celebrates the completion of the new Victorian College of the Arts buildings, within the area now known as the Arts Precinct.

The work is in four sequential parts, they form the whole work which incorporates audio, digital and filmed mediums.  

I was the director for this work which was devised collaboratively by the following artists with Kim Ho leading:

Lucy Ansell, co-devisor and performer, Bachelor of Fine Arts (Acting), 2018
Cara Dinley, co-devisor and director, Masters of Directing for Performance, 2018
Sarah Fitzgerald, co-devisor and performer, Bachelor of Fine Arts (Acting), 2018
Kim Ho, co-devisor, writer and performer, Masters of Writing for Performance, 2018
Karl Richmond, co-devisor, composer and performer, Bachelor of Fine Arts (Acting), 2018

Additional Credits

Lief Chan, visual artist, Bachelor of Arts 2018
The text on cellular consciousness in part four of the work was adapted from Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen’s Sensing, Feeling, and Action.

Artist Statement

Rising uses magical realism to grapple with themes of power, oppression, privilege, paralysis and sacrifice. It is inspired by kishōtenketsu, a ‘conflict-less’ East Asian story structure whereby dramatic pleasure derives not from the resolution of conflict, but through a coming-together of four disparate elements. Rising abstracts the brief into four parts, each with a central image; a greenhouse aglow; a magic orchid; figures rising from a boat filled with water; cells as communities – all distilled from the devising process. The work employs a variety of media in an attempt to translate the feeling and power of live performance (as durational, surprising, ephemeral) into a digital gallery.

A Divergent Herstory Pt 1 - dress rehearsal development images


Created in collaboration by Lucy Ansell, Cara Dinley, Sarah Fitzgerald and Magda Miranda 

Performed by Lucy Ansell, Sarah Fitzgerald, Magda Miranda

Concept Design and Direction by Cara Dinley

Special thanks to Felix Ching Ching Ho

Photo credit: Vivian Cooper Smith

What happens if some kind of break has occurred in our ancestry that cuts our connection to either the people, the places or both?

How do we find stories and information about the past that have not been written or passed down orally?

Cellular (body) memory provides an alternative source.

Research has shown that memory can be passed down through generations, which can inform certain parts of the body—its postures and behaviour. Our lived experience, whether we can remember it or not, is stored in our bodies and also affects our postures.

Embryology teaches that the heart develops before the brain and a female creates eggs which could become grandchildren—not their children. We, our eggs, were created in part by our grandmothers.

What does all of this say about the presence of our matrilineal heritage inside our bodies? We have sought to trace the stories inside our body’s cellular memory through sensorial,somatic, ‘body first’ practice to develop A Divergent Herstory Pt. 1.

This work explores an embodied, experimental theatre development incorporating an intergenerational group of all-female artists.

The initial provocation asked “How does your lived experience differ to that of your mother’s and grandmother’s?”

Inside an ambiguous temporal space, intimate stories told through the voice of the body and the body of the voice will feature, intersect with others, and meld together...finding connection in difference.

Trailer of our first development!

The Golden Years Are Now - development trailer from Cara Dinley on Vimeo.

...In a world where the subconscious bleeds and time and space are fluid, the woman Hedda Gabler is re-imagined, her unborn child watches from a different dimension. This fragmented fairytale reaches inside the bodies of these characters revealing their deepest desires and flickers of ancient memory. A friendly competition turns sour, unearthing remnants of an everlasting history. Mother and Daughter finally meet each other and find their story together, the story that started all of this. Songs of mourning bring a fractured family back together.

The Golden Years Are Now is an interdisciplinary theatre work, in development, written and directed by Cara Dinley, presented by Illumine Hybrid Theatre. This footage was taken during the first development phase, supported by the Center of Performing Arts Mitos in Cyprus, September, 2017. 
We are now looking for support to enable a second stage of development, which would complete the work and see it tour Europe in 2018. Click here for: Biographies, images and more info 
Cast Collaborators: Anu Almagro (FINLAND), Saale Kreen (ESTONIA), Yorgos Onisiforu (CYPRUS), Julien Touati (FRANCE)
Theatreologist, Costume Designer: Myrto Sarma (GREECE)
Electronic Music Composition: Doris Hallmägi & Saale Kreen (ESTONIA)
Adapted motive from Forgotten People's "Karelian Destiny" Veljo Tormis 
Lighting Designer, Technician: Lukas Walewski (POLAND)

'The Golden Years Are Now'

Phase 1 development September, 2017

Showings @ MITOS, Limassol, Cyprus

29 September at 8pm

30 September at 5pm

Tickets at the door 5 euro each

30 mins duration

(Feedback session will follow)

For more information click here

Written and Directed by Cara Dinley

Cast & Collaborators: Anu Almagro, Saale Kreen, Yorgos Onisiforu, Julien Touati (biographies and more info)

Adapted motif from Forgotten People's "Karelian Destiny" Veljo Tormis

Creative Collaborators:

Theatreologist, Costume Designer: Myrto Sarma

Electronic Music Composition: Doris Hallmägi & Saale Kreen

Lighting Designer, Performance Space: Lukas Walewski

Images credit: Stephen Nugent

The Golden Years Are Now

Phase 1 development of a new theatre work, written & directed by Cara Dinley, will take place at MITOS performing arts centre in Limassol, Cyprus.  This interdisciplinary work is a collaboration between 6 international artists-4 cast, 2 creatives-all from different countries in Europe, plus the auteur-representing Australia!

Showings of the outcome of this development, titled 'The Golden Years Are Now', will take place at 8pm, Sept 29 & 5pm, Sept 30, 2017.

email enquiries

What is Dadirri?

Dadirri is actually an Aboriginal Australian word, put very simply it means deep listening.  However, the written word cannot truly describe something that must be experienced and felt.  As such my definition is very reductive when compared with the understanding I now have of Dadirri, after working with my Aboriginal friends and colleagues at the Willin Centre, at the VCA, in Melbourne, Australia.  It was only after sitting and taking the time to have a conversation with these guys, that I came to experience what this word really means.

It's something that I can try to explain, but it's better that you start a conversation today with someone from our Aboriginal community, to really open your mind to another way of living.  An ancient way of living-I wish I had have learned about as a kid.  And I wish I had lived with more Aboriginal kids and people in my life, their culture spans far further and deeper than my own. 

I can learn from others about their culture and the culture I want to continue.  My art comes from a place of deep listening, I hope it provokes others to do the same thing - listen... deeply.