Blak Electric – ACPA

Blak Electric - ACPA Showcase. Photo Supplied
Blak Electric – ACPA Showcase. Photo Supplied

The future of the world lies in the hope of its young, and hope is something that ACPA’s (Aboriginal Centre for Performance Arts) performers exude.

With more than forty artists on stage, ACPA recently showcased its next generation of artists in the massive production of Blak Electric, by Stephen Lloyd Helper. What I love about ACPA productions is that I always walk away feeling magically uplifted.

The thoroughly engaging Leonard Donahue was our Puk-like guide for the electric journey; a janitor with narrative duties, he hints at the lessons to be learned as he sweeps up the troubles of his young charges. The showcase interweaves stories about young indigenous Australians leaving their rural homes to head to the big city in pursuit of their dreams – an artist, a footballer, an environmental heritage officer – but they themselves are pursued by their heritage no matter how hard they try to shake it off (Benjamin Creek’s footballer beautifully struggles here).

Blak Electric - ACPA Showcase. Photo Supplied
Blak Electric – ACPA Showcase. Photo Supplied
The strength of this story is in its ability to be both universal and unique all at once. As these young people try hard to be young and stay innocent, the seeds of strength and wisdom are planted when they come face to face with their unavoidable inheritance – a burden we all have to bear at some time in our lives; it will make or break us.

The diverse talents of the entire ACPA ensemble were featured throughout the performance using song and dance with music students comprising a live band and playing their own compositions (feature some ripping soul tunes). Poetry was also penned and performed by the students while Dimple Bani’s performance of ‘My Island Home’ by Christine Anu provoked goose-bumps.

Choreography by Nik Hills, Bradley Chatfield, and Andrew Toby seamlessly blended traditional and contemporary styles, while set and lighting design by Josh McIntosh and Glenn Hughes was positively charged.

With so many great young performers on stage, Blak Electric is almost a religious experience, and as we walked out of the Cremorne theatre, we found that the heavens had magically opened and we were inspired to skip joyfully through the violent downpour of rain, such is the contagious spirit of the ACPA ensemble.


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