DANCERS AND COLLABORATORS
Isabella 'Iz' Zettl*
Associate Set Designer
Associate Costume Designer
Assistant Stage Manager
Head Of Staging
Hannah Jukes Frere
Technical Manager/Head Electrician
Deputy Head Electrician
Lighting Programmer and Operator
Vision Programmer and Operator
*Third year Bachelor of Fine Arts (Design and Production) student
Stagecraft Project Coordinator
Scenic Art Department
VCA Head of Dance
Lecturer & Coordinator
Deanne Butterworth & Yumi Umimare
Production Academic Mentors
Marco Cher-Gibard, Allan Hirons, Lyndie Li Wan Po
VCA Production Academic Staff
Anna Cordingley, Martyn Coutts, Jo Evans, Amanda Hitten, Lisa Mibus, LIsa Osborn, Matt Scott
Theatrum Botanicum is a biological performance inspired by plant wisdom. It is about reconnecting ourselves to the source and what sustains existence.
Dancer, photographer and farmer Gregory Lorenzutti and VCA’s 3rd Year students have created a new interdisciplinary project re-connecting the world of dance and holistic gardening. Re-connecting because, in nature, nothing is apart, and under our feet there is a constant dance between different living organisms creating life.
In recent decades, we have become separated from the natural world and displaced it toward the fringes of our cities and neighbourhoods. In doing so we have forgotten that we are all part of the community of the living and we need to listen to nature for the sake of own survival.
In the world of Anthropocentrism, which reduces to things all that are not human, plants offer us a revolution. An opportunity for collaboration, healthy partnerships with other life forms and a humbling ability to coexist and thrive within a diverse ecosystem.
As dancers, we constantly search for a deeper engagement with our bodies, movement and rhythm. We are moving beings. This work takes us on a journey into plant movement and migration, complex forest intelligences, resource and information sharing by mycelium that sustains a myriad of life forms. It speaks to the resilience found in collaboration and interdependency.
Theatrum Botanicum helps us to better understand our role within the larger planetary life and re-engage with soil – the same soil we feed from and dance upon.
In the making of the piece, dancers worked with soil, seeds and natural systems design – exploring the intrinsic connections between plant life and humans. Movement and choreographic scores were devised by the dancer’s encounters with a range of earth-centric practices and the vegetal world.
The visual concepts and elements of this work were built mostly from organic materials gathered around Southbank, as well as repurposed VCA materials. Dancers and creatives have grown set elements on Campus. The gardens and edible plants in this piece will be feeding the students and relocated across Melbourne University gardens. All organic material left will be composted and turned into soil after the show’s completion.
My biggest gratitude and love to all dancers, creatives, production team and Melbourne University Staff who embarked with open hearts into a journey with plants and brought their own experiences and stories. This piece was only possible because of your craft and connection. My heart to you all.
Big thank you to Professor Carol Brown for your visionary approach in dance and circular systems and courageous work in bringing us together.
Theatrum Botanicum aims to re-awaken our senses to natural rhythms, biodiversity and plant knowledge, and create a communal space to honour and dance with plants.
- Gregory Lorenzutti