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Solace + Yearning

Annette Carmichael
Nicola-Jane le Breton
Linda Bradbury

Poetry of Dance and Belonging

A Community Arts Project from Denmark, Western Australia

‘Solace + Yearning’ layers landscape, poetry, eco-art and contemporary dance to create an immersive space for many voices: yearning to connect to country, grief for what is absent, and reaching towards an understanding of indigenous language and culture.

“Along the edges, voices call softly, softly…
the past speaking to the present.”

This multi-arts collaboration explores ‘settler guilt’ and ‘solastalgia’—a sense of loss caused by environmental change—in a small rural community. The work unravels contradictory and complicated feelings about Australia’s stories, the assumed advantage of non-indigenous Australians, and yet our deep longing for the wisdom and connection intrinsic in indigenous cultures.

“It is beneath the bark where stories are whispered
and life rises to stitch together this river with this sky.”

Performed in Denmark, Western Australia in 2012, and again as a solo performance by Annette Carmichael in 2014, these images and reflections portray a complex relationship between people and place.

“Sometimes, sometimes
I make the mistake of thinking that
what has not been written down
has been forgotten.”

With gratitude to Joey Williams, Wayne Webb, Toni Webb, and Harley Coyne, who walked the trail with us and generously shared their Noongar culture and stories.

About the Editors

Annette Carmichael is a dance artist and creative producer who specialises in regional cultural development and community engagement.  Annette creates multi-art performance works that have contemporary dance at their core but also include theatre, writing, music, textiles and installation. Recent works include Solace+Yearning (2012 & 2014), My War? (2015), The Creation of Now (2015, commissioned by Ausdance WA), The Snake Run Project (2016, for Perth Festival and City of Albany), The Beauty Index (2017 for Brave New Works festival) and A Light Shade of Red (for centenary of Armistice Day 2018).
Australian Dance Award (shortlist 2018 & 2012); Recipient Tasdance Residency by Invitation Only (2016); West Australian Dance Award (winner 2011, shortlist 2013).

Nicola-Jane le Breton is a story weaver and community facilitator with a passion for the power of story to awaken, connect and deepen our relationships in community and with wild nature. As a mentor, she offers a safe space to discover and develop your innermost stories, both written and spoken. She runs writing circles and storytelling journeys that support imaginal inquiry and intimate encounters with each other and the sacred. Nicola-Jane also works as a publishing consultant and editor in Perth, Western Australia, and in 2019 ran an oral storyteller development program in Denmark WA with theatre director Silvia Lehmann. You can connect with her at:

Past collaborations include: The Spindle of Spoken Story (Denmark, 2019), My War? (Denmark, 2015), Wheel of Fortunes (Ravensthorpe, 2013), Solace+Yearning (Denmark, 2012), Our Secret River (Denmark, 2011), Writing in the Wild – Nature Writers’ Retreat (Denmark, 2011), and Unravelling: Denmark Stories (2009). 

Linda Bradbury is a wordwright who loves to explore confluence between rhythms in language and landscape. Stories left unspoken, underneath and beyond what has been written down, interest her most. Work to date includes creative non-fiction & poetry performance & publication, collaborative script-writing & distillation, text in short film & printed on pavement in sand and word improvisation as interactive public art installation.

Projects include collaborative scriptwriting & performance: Windborne 2019, Festival of Voice 2012-2019, VAC Futures project 2017, Living Testament 2016, The Creation of Now 2015, Rhythms of Life  2014, Solace+Yearning 2012, Our Secret River 2010 & Unravelling: Denmark Stories 2009.

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Solace + Yearning

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ISBN: 978-1-925171-93-8 (ebook edition)
Format: eBook (epub + mobi)
Extent: 64 pages
Publisher: Vivid Publishing
Category: Performing Arts -- Dance, Poetry