Strut Dance bring magic to a transformed Sunset Men’s Hospital

For the Perth Festival Strut Dance are presenting a site specific dance work. Choreographed by Maxine Doyle, Sunset will be staged in the Sunset Men’s Hospital in Dalkeith.

The heritage listed former hospital is one of Perth’s forgotten spaces, it’s laid empty for over two decades but now it will be filled with the new dance work. The immersive dance theatre piece will take audiences to a waiting room between worlds for a very different journey.

Dancers Paul Zivkovich and Conor Doyle gave us a call during a break from rehearsals to tell us about the development of the work.

“It’s a really gorgeous site, and we’ve got this beautiful space that we’re working in, with beautiful period features, and we’re feeling really lucky to be working in place with such a heritage.” Doyle said.

Doyle says the work being created in like a meditative poem. “Although it’s set at Sunset and deals with themes that come around that space and its history, it’s got quite a universal view and there’s lots of things to connect people to the people who were residents there, and the people who worked there. It’s quite a universal story.”

Doyle said the work that is being created is quite thematic. “It’s not a historical piece, people shouldn’t come expecting Anything too historical – it’s much more like a poem on the space.”

Alongside a team of world class dancers who’ve come together for the work the amazing Rachael Dease has been creating music for the new work.

Dancer Paul Zivkovich described the music Dease is creating as “totally lush” and said the performance space is transformed once the element of music is added.

“Rachael’s sinking he teeth in with her team, and the space looks different when the music is played in there, it comes alive.”

Zivkovich said when he first visited the hospital he just spent some time getting in tune with his surroundings. “I was just really quiet, it’s a very quiet place, you can feel that there’s so much optimism for what this space might become in the future, but it’s history is loaded too.

With the former Barnett government committing to the total restoration of the old hospital, the new dance work comes at a time when it sits on the balancing point between its moth-balled past and a brighter future.

Maxine Doyle’s Sunset will be presented for just nine performance during the Perth Festival and shows are quickly selling out. Head to perthfestival.com.au for tickets.

Graeme Watson

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