History

About Branch Nebula

Space

Branch Nebula was founded in 1999 by Lee Wilson and Mirabelle Wouters as a vessel to hold their communal creative exploits.

Branch Nebula makes socially and politically engaged performance work. They take their work into the public sphere in order to access audiences that do not engage with contemporary performance and dance, and who are not in the habit of going to the theatre because of socio-economic reasons. The basis of Branch Nebula’s practice and choreographic concerns are site-specificity, inter-disciplinary skills and audience engagement.

This is site-specificity of the most immediate kind, a visceral connection to a place of play, not its social role or its history, in a display of what is often regarded as fun but here as art without losing the integrity of its popular foundations. The outcome is a visual spectacle, impeccably choreographed so that star turns are embedded in and shoot out of the mesmeric poetry of the grand sweeping collective rides and runs that transform the concrete into a magic, enabling vessel.
– Keith Gallasch, Real Time, Feb 2013

Branch Nebula is one of Australia’s most adventurous performance companies working at the nexus between performance, dance, sport and street-styles. They interrogate performance, both inside the traditional theatre and outside in the realm of public space, through two interweaving lines of enquiry:

  • THE URBAN EXPERIENCE: bringing art to the people on-site. Branch Nebula contests public space and engages with street-style artists as highly evolved architects of the urban environment.
  • THE PERFORMANCE EXPERIENCE: Branch Nebula’s work challenges the constructs of traditional performance spaces, and provokes audiences to question their expected interaction with ‘theatre’. They stimulate a shift in perception, and challenge expectations about who engages with theatre, who is on stage, and who it is OK to look at.

Branch Nebula works across disciplines to challenge mainstream cultural conventions. They often work with non-conventional performers to collaboratively devise work that defies categorization. They interrogate the audience experience and explore contemporary culture as a means of creating access and speaking to a broad audience.

Past Work

This year Branch Nebula premiered Food Fight, a free large scale event in Bigge Park in Liverpool, focusing on to the issue of food security. Food Fight was commissioned by C3West (Museum of Contemporary Art) and Liverpool City Council. Currently in collaboration with Milkcrate Theatre on Feast, BN is working with people who have experienced homelessness. Another community engagement project Snake Sessions, commissioned by Bundanon Trust, is created through a residency process in a skate park, and premiered in Nowra in April 2016. In August 2015 the company premiered Artwork, commissioned by CarriageWorks, working with unrehearsed non-performers who first meet the company an hour before going on stage.

Branch Nebula’s Helpmann nominated Concrete And Bone Sessions premiered at Sydney Festival in January 2013 and toured to the Santiago A Mil festival in Chile in January 2014. The Green Room Award winning and Helpmann nominated Whelping Box, co-produced with Matt Prest and Clare Britton, premiered at Performance Space’s SEXES festival at CarriageWorks in October 2012, toured to Arts House in Melbourne in September 2013, and Brisbane in March 2014. In July/August 2013 Branch Nebula created sloap working with local professional street-style artists, an international co-production with the Kiasma Museum in Helsinki Finland for the Urb Festival. The company has also started work on a new commission by CarriageWorks, Artwork working with non-performers on a professional basis, sourced through the internet. Planned to premier in August 2015.

Branch Nebula’s SWEAT, premiered at Performance Space Sydney in 2010, toured to Dance Massive in Melbourne (March 2011), and to the ‘In Transit’ festival at Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin (June 2011). The Helpmann nominated Paradise City premiered at the Sydney Opera House in 2006 and toured to four international festivals in Brazil (2007), and to 11 venues all over Australia as part of Mobile States (2008). In 2004 Branch Nebula co-produced Plaza Real with Urban Theatre Projects. In 2001 they created Sentimental Reason, which premiered at downstairs Belvoir Street and toured to Kultureel Centrum nOna in Mechelen (Belgium), Performance Space (Sydney), and Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts. Mad Red, a full-length work, was their first production and was presented by the Victoria Festival in Ghent (Belgium) in 2000, before touring to Bern in Switzerland for the Auawirleben festival.