Marrugeku - co-artistic directors
Dalisa Pigram is a Yawuru/Bardi woman with Malay and Filipino heritage born and raised in Broome. Dalisa has worked with Marrugeku since the first production Mimi (1996) and has been Co-Artistic Director of Marrugeku since 2008 alongside Rachael Swain. Dalisa has been a co-devising movement artist on all of Marrugeku’s productions, touring extensively overseas and throughout Australia. Dalisa’s solo work Gudirr Gudirr (2013) earned an Australian Dance Award (Outstanding Achievement in Independent Dance 2014) and a Green Room Award (Best Female Performer 2014). Dalisa coconceived Marrugeku’s Burning Daylight (2006) and Cut the Sky (2015) with Rachael Swain, cochoreographing both works as well as Marrugeku’s Le Dernier Appel (2018) with Serge Aimé Coulibaly, for which she also received a Green Room Award (Best Performance 2020). Together with Swain, she co-directed Buru (2010), Ngalimpa and cocurated Marrugeku’s four International Indigenous Choreographic Labs and Burrbgaja Yalirra [Dancing Forwards]. Dalisa co-conceived with Rachael Swain and Patrick Dodson Marrugeku’s Jurrungu Ngan- ga [Straight Talk] (2021), co-choreographing the new work with the performers. Dalisa has most recently co-created and co-choreographed Marrugeku’s Mutiara which premiered in Broome for Shinju Matsuri (2023). Dalisa also co-choreographed and performed in Marrugeku’s new digital work, Gudirr Gudirr video and sound installation. In her community, Dalisa teaches the Yawuru Language at Cable Beach Primary School and is committed to the maintenance of Indigenous language and culture through arts and education, working closely with and for her community. Dalisa is co-editor of Marrugeku: Telling That Story—25 years of trans-Indigenous and intercultural exchange (Performance Research 2021).
Rachael Swain is a director and dramaturg of Scottish, Irish and English descent, born on the land of the Ngāi Tahu, Aotearoa, and living and working between the lands of the Gadigal (Sydney) and the lands of the Yawuru (Broome). Rachael specialises in concept development, direction and dramaturgy for intercultural, intersectional and trans-disciplinary dance and theatre. She is a founding member and Co-Artistic Director of Marrugeku with Yawuru /Bardi dancer and choreographer Dalisa Pigram. She has co-conceived and directed Marrugeku’s productions Mimi (1996), Crying Baby (2001), Burning Daylight (2006), Cut the Sky (2015), and Jurrungu Ngan-ga (2022), and co-directed Buru (2010) and Ngalimpa (2018) with Pigram. Her dramaturgy credits include Gudirr Gudirr (2013), the video installation Gudirr Gudirr (2021) directed by Vernon Ah Kee, Burrbgaja Yalirra 1 (2018), Le Dernier Appel (2018), and No New Gods by Bhenji Ra, Nyuju by Emmanuel James Brown for Burrbgaja Yalirra 2 and Marrugeku’s most recent production Mutiara (2023). She conceived and directed The Demon (2022) written by Michael Mohammed Ahmad and commissioned by Sydney Opera House and OzAsia Festival. Rachael gained a Masters in Advanced Theatre and Dance Research from DAS ARTS, Amsterdam and a Doctorate in Theatre Studies from Melbourne University. She is the author of Dance in Contested Land— new intercultural dramaturgies (Palgrave Macmillian, 2020) and co-editor of Marrugeku: Telling That Story—25 years of trans- Indigenous and intercultural exchange (Performance Research 2021).