Ritual Performance

Ritual Performance
Ritual Performance
Aunty Joy and Aunty Carolyn - mixing of sweet and salt water ceremony - photo Catherine Acin
Aunty Joy and Aunty Carolyn - mixing of sweet and salt water ceremony - photo Catherine Acin
Ritual Performance
Aunty Joy and Aunty Carolyn - mixing of sweet and salt water ceremony - photo Catherine Acin
My work over the past 20+ years has orbited the transformative and artistic possibilities of public ceremonies, open air and site specific theatre, celebrations and ritual theatre events created at Arts Festivals throughout Australia and Internationally.

Ritual performances can serve to calibrate and track the passages and personal metamorphoses we make throughout our lives and are capable of opening portals to interconnected reflexive states and experiences of communitas within participants.

If you have participated or witnessed in any of these events, please feel welcome to contribute to the online survey : Click here to take survey

An important aspect of the contemporary relevance of ritual lies in my belief that human beings yearn for expressions and experiences of the transcendent - whatever that may mean to the individual. It is arguably why Australians congregate for the celebration of sporting festivals - with all their ingrained rituals of dress codes and etiquette – or may deeply and physically mourn the loss of celebrity figures who have been representative of some significance in their lives.

Ritual has a powerful role as both a poetic and prosaic communication device; from the cleansing morning shower to the binding exchange of vows. In effect, in ritualising our lives we mythologise them and colour them in allusion to the epic experience. We extend our imagination beyond our own individual lives to become a part of the continuum of archetypal expressions of life.

My interest lies in designing public works of art that are capable of elevating the audience from passive viewers to participants and witnesses by engaging them in an experience that enlivens and demands embodied participation and prompts a sense of spiritual engagement.

The application of ritual performance as a multivalent artform with contemporary artistic potency has of late been gaining momentum and support as witnessed in events and performances enacted in countries such as the UK, North America and South Africa, to name a few.

Recent work has been increasingly fueled by a desire to create a mode of performance which contributes to, and challenges, contemporary performance practices whilst exploring dialogues on space, place, identity and belonging.

Much of my work has taken place in outdoor and non conventional theatre spaces, utilising the aesthetic and artistic possibilities of such varied and challenging sites and allowing the potential for wider public participation than might be otherwise possible.

Included in this enquiry is the development of a temporal and spatial dialogue, as long-past expressions, symbols and sites of ceremony and ritual converge with the immediacy of contemporary enactment, informing the work and highlighting an awareness of the many implications of ancestry, place and ritual in our selves.

My artistic intent lies in the continuing development of a body of work of a new and hybrid form of uniquely Australian contemporary public ritual making or ‘Contemporary Ceremony'.

An important thematic aspect of my investigation of ‘Contemporary Ceremony’, with its fragile and transient essence of communitas, is to discover how ritual may serve as a site for nurturing reconciliation and healing in Post Apology Era Australia.

This practice focuses upon creating a sense of reflexive sodality between first Australians and settler society, in its many evolving demographic forms, and seeks to involve, implicate and dialogue with the audience (actively and symbolically) in the design and content of the piece.


Longing Belonging Land Dreamtime at the G Illuminated By Fire Quiet Emergency Longing, Belonging, Land Video collection Dangerous Divas The Aviatrix Walking with Spirits

Ritual Performance

Margie Mackay Ritual Performance


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