Species On Stage (test)

Species on Stage: Transformative Tales for Troubled Times was an early iteration of what is now Survival Stories, a collaboration between Animal Allegories and the Australian Museum (AM).

The project was conceptualised by Dr Zoë Sadokierski (School of Design, UTS) and Dr Jenny Newell (Manager, Climate Change Projects, AM). Initially, it was pitched as a series of live, illustrated storytelling performances designed to make space for adult audiences to collectively imagine our part in a climate-affected but still liveable world, focusing on the circumstances of one at-risk species at a time.

The performances were framed in three acts, with creative 'interludes' between each act to provide reflective space for the audience:

  1. GLOBAL: Problem framing—
    Ecological significance of species, threats to survival.

  2. LOCAL: Pathways for action—
    Community conservation projects to join/support.

  3. INDIVIDUAL: Inspiration—
    A story of one person’s connection to the species.

In December 2021, the AM funded a one-week creative development workshop, focusing on bats. First Nations geographer Sara Kian-Judge, graphic storyteller Fionn McCabe, musician Laurence Pike and sound designer Martin Peralta collaborated with the team to come up with a one-hour live performance in front of a test audience.

The event opened with a Welcome to Country by Nathan Sentance and an introduction by social researcher Rebecca Huntley, and closed with a feedback session from the audience – Museum staff, scientists, design scholars and theatre producer/directors.

Three women seated on low stools talk in a theatre
A drummer playing in front of a screen projecting images of bats
A man delivers a Welcome to Country address
A woman delivers and introduction to a public event
Three woman in conversation, seated on low stools, with a screen projecting images of bats behind them.
Three women in conversation, seated at the front of a theatre, a screen with images of bats is behind them.
A man reads in front of a screen showing a comic about bats
A drummer plays in front of a screen projecting hands drawing, a man and a woman are at a table nearby drawing
A man and a woman sit at a table with bat specimens, drawing
A woman and a man sit cross legged on the floor, the woman speaks while the man mixes music on an audio deck