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Catapult Dance Choreographic Hub, based in Newcastle is a professional arts organisation for mid-career choreographers, emerging choreographers, multi-disciplinary artist, young people and the community

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Newcastle’ renowned professional contemporary dance company’s new site-specific commission to be performed in the iconic Civic Park Fountain at the New Annual Festival in February 2021, supported by the City Of Newcastle

Catapult created  a new performance for the Civic Fountain, making use of its striking architecture and exploring the same themes as the fountain itself – Newcastle’s unique balance of beautiful natural environment and history as an industrial city.

Director: Cadi McCarthy
Belle Beasley, Alexander Abbot, Craig Bary, Alexandra Ford, Nicola Ford, Mikayla Nangle & Sophia Van Gent
Composer: Zackari Watt
Film Direction: Ashley de Prazer

Supported by The City Of Newcastle & New Annual Arts Festival


Where did the idea for this type of performance, making use of the fountain, come from?

I was approached by Kate Britton from the City of Newcastle to create a work in the beautiful sculptural fountain created by Margel Hinder.  It was a very exciting, interesting and challenging proposition but I loved the idea.  

Kate really wanted to utilise the incredible work of Margel Hinder,  who was such an incredible pioneering female artist and place it within the contemporary dance context.  


How does performing in a space like Civic Park Fountain alter your approach to a performance? How unique is something like this?

It is an incredibly unique approach to creating work as there are many different elements to consider- water, weather, surfaces and then the dancers bodies within that.

I had to look at how I was going to create a work in the fountain that utilised all these elements. I approached Zackari Watt with a crazy idea I had for a set to sit within the fountain itself,  and the results are incredible – with the dancers looking like they can walk on water.
Choreographically it was an interesting development process with half of the  rehearsals spent in the fountain and the other half in the studio.  It was important to work out what was possible in the water as it is really heavy to move.
It really has been a fantastic process to create in such a beautiful site specific location.

It’s said the performance will explore Newcastle’s environment and its industrial history, can you give us some insight into how?

This is based on the incredible work of Margel Hinders’ sculpture.  It’s a timeless, classic design. It is comprised of three main sculptural forms of sheet copper, reinforced inside with stainless steel.  She said her influences included the rugged coastal cliffs and old rock walls around Newcastle.
“Margel felt Newcastle had a certain rugged character, with its coastal cliffs and industry. She wanted that represented in her fountain design,” Brian Suters: Architect 1966
One passionate Sydney radio broadcaster has described it as “one of the finest pieces of public sculpture in Australia”.   Margel Hinder wrote  “(My) shapes are intended to signify certain qualities that I feel are expressive of Newcastle: energy, vigour and a metallic strength,”
 “But even after the fountain was officially opened in 1966, people were still complaining the design was too modern,” Sue Ryan said.
Margel Hinder described the work as an attempt to create a fountain that worked as a sculpture when the water was off and when it was on. “I have planes of water that form shapes when related to the sculptural shapes,” she said. “The whole thing is worked on a spiral,” she said, adding that it was designed to present a view from all angles except the inaccessible back.
All of this research and more went into the development of the choreography as well as the original music score by Zackari Watt, that accompanies the work.

What can audiences expect from this performance?

An absolutely beautiful evening of contemporary dance,  performed by 8 outstanding professional dancers.  Accompanied by a brilliant orchestral score by Newcastle composer: Zackari Watt within the surrounds of Margel Hinders riveting fountain.
What a perfect way to spend a summer’s evening.  This is a very unique experience and one not to be missed.

 Photo Credits: Paul Dear