Alchemy: Cross my heart (and hope)
‘Cross my heart (and hope)’ is a visually and aurally arresting new work created by the award-winning theatre company Rawcus. Rawcus joins forces with musician, vocalist and composer Dan Witton for ‘Cross my heart (and hope).’ The theatrical work explores resilience and hope in the face of adversity, directly responding to the history, architecture and atmosphere of the Abbotsford Convent’s Mural Hall. A series of moving pictures, Rawcus’ work is sculptural, unexpected, beautiful, funny and tender. ‘Cross my heart (and hope)’ is co-devised and performed by Rawcus Ensemble members Hannah Bradsworth and Mike McEvoy, with Dan Witton, designed by Laura Dunnington, directed by Nilgün Güven and dramaturgy by Rawcus’ Artistic Director, Kate Sulan. Rawcus is proudly supported by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria, the City of Port Phillip, the Lord Mayors Charitable Foundation and the Shulu Foundation.
‘Cross my heart (and hope)’ is part of Alchemy 2016 – the Convent’s flagship arts funding initiative. Taking place over May, Alchemy presents a series of site-specific works, which celebrate the Convent’s space and place; its location, architecture, environment, people and history. The Abbotsford Convent Foundation awarded each project $5000 in 2015 for its development and presentation.
Rawcus is an ensemble of performers with and without disabilities. Collaborating with a core creative team led by Artistic Director Kate Sulan, Rawcus devises new work that expresses the imaginative world of the Ensemble. Drawing on dance, theatre and visual art disciplines, the work is crafted with a precision that supports the performers but allows space for their inherent sense of anarchy. Rawcus’ work has won numerous awards and has featured as part of Dance Massive, Next Wave, Melbourne Fringe and Melbourne Arts Festival. The group has worked collaboratively with diverse Australian arts companies, including Restless Dance Company, Born in a Taxi, The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Chambermade Opera. Rawcus was recently nominated for a Green Room Award for their performance of Catalogue 2015 Dance Massive Arts House.
Hannah has been a member of Rawcus since 2012. Dancing since she was five, Hannah has performed with e.motion21, Jazz and Funk Urban Dance School and the YMCA. Hannah is a member of the Chaotic Order ensemble at FCAC as well as the Hip Hop crew at Club Wild and Anna's Go Go Academy. Hannah once had her own radio show, ‘Hannah's Hum Drum’ in East Gippsland and Western Australia. In 2013, Hannah produced and starred in her own short dance film ‘Confessions of a Dancer’.
Laura Dunnington is a Melbourne-based milliner and costume designer. With a background in fine art photography, Laura has an eye for line, colour, composition and texture. Laura has done costume and millinery work for theatre, film, fashion, performance art and education. Her credits include Perform! Echelon Productions (2014 – 2015), ‘Funny Bone’, Hunny Bunny Productions (2015), ‘Dreams from the Second Floor’, National Institute of Circus Arts (2014), Honk! Ballarat Theatre Company (2014) and CLOC Musical Theatre.
Nilgün Güven is an inclusive arts practitioner, performer, director, creative producer, curator, writer and audio describer. She has produced and created numerous award-winning and critically acclaimed productions, films and projects in partnership with diverse artists, communities and organisations for festivals, public events and online domains. Having joined Rawcus in 2001, Nilgün is in a dual role – working as an Ensemble member and Public Program Coordinator. Co-directing several of the company's works, her credits include ‘By You, Me and the Light’ (2015), ‘Portraits’ (2014), ‘Imagine Me There’ (2012), ‘Emporium of Treasures’ (2012) and ‘Another Lament’ (2010/2012).
Mike has been an Ensemble member with Rawcus since 2007, performing in their productions ‘Catalogue’, ‘Small Odysseys’, ‘Another Lament’, ‘The Heart of Another is a Dark Forest’, ‘Hunger’, ‘Beyond the Room’, and ‘Emporium of Treasures’. Mike is also the Co-Artistic Director and Ensemble member of Melbourne Playback Theatre Company. His other credits include ‘Two Mortals’, ‘April Underhill’, ‘Salonika Bound’, ‘She’s Not Performing’, ‘The Time is Not Yet Ripe’, ‘Tyranny’ (La Mama), ‘White With Wire Wheels’ (UHT), ‘I Start Again’ (A is for Atlas), ‘Ivanov’ (fortyfivedownstairs). Mike is an Honours Graduate from the School of Creative Arts, Victorian College of the Arts.
Kate Sulan is the founding Artistic Director of Rawcus. She is a long-term collaborator with Back to Back Theatre and co-devised ‘Ganesh Versus the Third Reich’, which has toured to over 14 cities worldwide. Kate has worked as a director and dramaturge with companies such as Malthouse Theatre, Restless Dance Theatre, Melbourne Theatre Company, Stuck Pigs Squealing and The Women’s Circus. In 2009, Kate created a work in Ahmedabad, India, as part of an Asialink Performing Arts Residency. Between 2006 – 2014, Kate was a board member of Next Wave Festival, and was part of MTC’s Women Director’s Program 2014 and The Director’s Lab 2015.
As an actor, physical performer, musician, composer, sound designer and vocalist, Dan has worked with mainstream, fringe and independent theatre companies, dance companies, contemporary music ensembles, street theatre, television, acrobatic troupes, educational institutions, art galleries and public and private institutions. His credits include co-founding Desoxy Theatre with Teresa Blake and working with Malthouse Theatre, State Opera of SA, Opera Australia, Australian Dance Theatre, Circus Oz, Belvoir St. Theatre, Playbox, Strange Fruit, The Blue Grassy Knoll, Cosmo Cosmolino, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, The Urban Dream Capsule, Chamber Made Opera, The Wikimen, and the Ennio Morricone Experience.
Rawcus would like to thank Emily Barrie, Jethro Woodward, and Christine and David Bradsworth.