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World premiere: She Conjured the Clouds set to rock arts fans

She Conjured the Clouds is a glowing, vibrating, technicolour journey of the senses for all ages and abilities. Blending live performance and installation, this spectacular production by critically acclaimed artist Justene Williams aims to shift the conventions of visual arts and theatre to encourage new audiences to experience these mediums.

What’s more, arts lovers and enthusiasts in Macarthur will be the first to enjoy She Conjured the Clouds becauseitsworld premiere will be Campbelltown Art Centre from January 16.

The work, which wascommissioned and produced by Campbelltown Arts Centre, will be co-presented with the 2020 Sydney Festival.

She Conjured the Clouds has been designed for audiences of all ages and abilities, including those in the deaf and hard of hearing communities.

Expect a world where audiences can touch – and sometimes eat – the kaleidoscopic scenery.

A journey of the senses, this is a place where the imagination is celebrated and otherworldly adventure awaits.

This new work combines installation with theatre drawing on the magical and transformative worlds conjured in traditional folklore and fairy tales.   Audiences can follow the story of two local children on their adventures, meeting swamp creatures, carnivorous ghost bats and bird witch puppets.

Blurring the boundaries between performer and audience, She Conjured the Clouds invites everyone into a playful, colourful world of touch, sound and vivid imagery. 

 Promising a feast of the senses, artist Justene Williams brings to life a dynamic series of characters that communicate through vibrant sonic costumes: from a gang of revving native motorbike frogs to a drum bellied creature and a ball of fairy floss.

The work features video animation, recorded and live music using vibro tactile elements, architectonic costumes, dance, aerial performance, sculptural objects with kinetic elements, as well as the smell and taste of popcorn and fairy floss.

Williams also brings together a diverse range of performers, from emerging actors to a Paralympian; aerial performers and even a Yellow Wiggle.

Adding further drama, the story is framed by fairy floss trees and a ceiling of clouds.

Williams’ practice aims to reimagine the boundaries of arts, breaking apart conventions to allow the black box or white cube space to be more experimental, playful and accessible to all.

“The work has been conceived for a broad audience: the young and young at heart; as well as the deaf and hard of hearing community,’’ says the artist.

“The movement in the work draws on Auslan, merging iconic gesturing and contemporary dance and exploring slippages in language and communication.

“I have used sign before in my video works but for this project, I have been delighted to work with accessibility consultant Su Jo Wright, as well as dancers Emma Watkins and Nicola Bruni, and together we have pushed these boundaries even further to create a work that is accessible to all,’’ says Ms Williams.

 Michael Dagostino, the director of Campbelltown Arts Centre, says it’s thrilling to start the 2020 program with a world premiere.

“Placing artists at the forefront has always been the anchor when developing our program, to challenge and change artistic structures focusing on artist led contemporary arts strategies,’’ he says.

“Justene’s work is a major part of the Western Sydney artistic landscape, as she was a graduate from the illustrious UWS and exhibited in Campbelltown in 1996.

“I have been a massive fan of hers since 1997 when I saw her work as a part of Fibro – A devotion to suburb, a part of Australian Perspecta at Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre.’’

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