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Hang on — Brisbane has Salamander?!

Don’t panic! This isn’t a biosecurity issue. Salamander is a world premiere dance-theatre production in response to the global climate challenge.

Combining dance, music, theatre, light and art, Salamander is one of the most ambitious works commissioned by Brisbane Festival and is a creative collaboration between acclaimed UK choreographer and director Maxine Doyle and celebrated British contemporary artist Es Devlin.

Salamander uses light, sound, design and movement to transform a Northshore warehouse into a science, climate-fiction, dream-like world. The centrepieces of this world are two labyrinthian and kinetic sculptures designed by the incredible Ms Devlin.

Why is Es Devlin such a big deal?

Ms Devlin’s work has appeared at the Tate Modern, V&A, The Serpentine Gallery, The Louvre and the MET Museum.

She has also crafted stage sculptures for Beyonce, The Weeknd and U2, The Royal Opera House, National Theatre, La Scala and The Met Opera, as well as the 2022 Super Bowl featuring Dr Dre, Kendrick Lamar and Eminem and the 2012 London Olympic Closing Ceremony.


And her next reveal is at Northshore?!

Yes! How cool is that?

Salamander will be one of the biggest productions staged by Brisbane Festival so it needed a venue that could accommodate its size and scope.

The creative partners have tailored the large-scale production to fit the unconventional venue of L Shed in Brisbane’s riverfront Northshore precinct.

The location will spotlight two original stage sculptures by Ms Devlin as well as incorporate the choreography of Maxine Doyle, who is known for her multi-award-winning immersive dance theatre works around the world. #alsoanoverachiever

Who else is involved?

Ms Doyle is working with a dynamic ensemble of international, national and local dancers including Brisbane’s Australasian Dance Collective, who will interact with the sculptures.

Also bringing Salamander to life is Australian composer and singer Rachael Dease with lighting by Ben Hughes and costumes by Bruce McKinven.

What’s the inspiration behind the work?

Ms Doyle says Salamander was partly inspired by J.G. Ballard’s 1962 post-apocalyptic novel The Drowned World and the 2021 satirical climate politics film, Don’t Look Up.

This new and thought-provoking work will engage audiences in a conversation on climate change, told on a grand scale, and further demonstrate the power of the arts in considering important contemporary issues and driving social change.

How close will the audience be?

Salamander is an intimate experience designed to gently provoke personal connections and reflections, despite the production’s physical scale.

The space is epic but audience numbers will be kept small so people can be close to the work and personally experience the art and the dancers.

SALAMANDER plays L Shed, Northshore Hamilton from 1 Sep 2023