Salamander, a new brilliant work by Maxine Doyle and Es Devlin for Brisbane Festival.

Maxine Doyle, a renowned international choreographer and director, known for her work with companies like GöteborgsOperans Danskompani and Balletboyz. Es Devlin, one of most influential set designers and artists in the world. 

These two artists began to collaborate in 2020 on Here not here at Gothenburg Opera, and now they transport us in a new dynamic world made by great set design, choreographies, and music, with the composer Rachel Dease. 

Salamander sees a warehouse at Northshore, Brisbane transformed into a fully immersive, climate-fiction dream-like world through light, sound, design, and movement. 

The set design is mind blowing powered by the lighting by Ben Hughes and the costumes by Bruce McKiven. Maxine Doyle with a dynamic ensemble of international, national and local dancers, including Brisbane’s Australasian Dance Collective, with extraordinary Australian composer and singer Rachael Dease bring this world to life with visceral dance, and haunting melodies. 

As said by Es Devlin, the inspiration by this dance theatre visual fest comes from the J.G Ballard’s prophetic 1962 science fiction novel The Drowned World, set in 2145. Ballard describes the world in an uninhabitable swamp, by high temperatures and solar radiation. The world is inhabited by few humans and reptiles.

“Soon it will be too hot” is the opening line of J.G Ballard’s prophetic science fiction, climate fiction novel – The Drowned World. Written in 1962 and set in 2145, Ballard describes a world in which solar radiation has increased surface temperatures and sea levels transforming the planet into an uninhabitable swampland. Giant reptiles are colonising the land and the few lastremaining human beings are experiencing the beginnings of a metamorphosis to their archaic amphibian selves. Ballard’s novel together with the idea of a last supper, became the conversation point between Es and I for Salamander both a response to the global climate crisis and a desperate celebration of our human animal selves. Together with our creative collaborators, Rachael Dease our composer and the beautiful artists of Australasian Dance Collective, our aim was to create something poetic, bold, and deeply sensorial that combined site, kinetic sculpture, dance, music, and light. The excavation of thecreature that has become Salamander has demanded a Herculean effort from all involved and I am already changed by this work and this process.

Maxine Doyle, director and choreographer

The dancers in the show are the survivors in this future world and they emerge from the maze to find a bright red/orange incessantly turning table encompassed by rain, they try to make a change before it’s too late.

We should learn from these characters, to preserve our future. 

An extraordinary example of performance art that stirs your conscience!


Maxine Doyle Director and Choreographer

Es Devlin Stage Sculpture

Rachael Dease Composer, Sound Designer and Vocalist


Bruce McKinven Costume Designer

Ben Hughes Lighting Designer

Amy Hollingsworth ADC Artistic Director

Ellie Wintour Associate Designer (Es Devlin Studio)

Rozina Suliman Associate Designer


Choreography developed in collaboration with the ensemble

Australasian Dance Collective (ADC) and Guests:

Gabrielle Nankivell Dancer/Rehearsal Director

Chase Clegg-Robinson Dancer

Harrison Elliott Dancer

Jack Lister Dancer

Jag Popham Dancer

Lilly King Dancer

May Greenberg Dancer (Guest)

Paul Zivkovich Dancer (Guest)

Rachael Dease Vocalist (Guest)

S | D | M 

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