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Deborah Cheetham Fraillon AO

Parrwang Lifts the Sky

10–18 May 2024 Merlyn Theatre, Malthouse

“..uplifting and engaging, musically translucent, and sung with soaring beauty and clarity.” 4 Stars, Limelight Magazine

Did you know that magpies created the first dawn?*

Victorian Opera is once again proud to present Parrwang Lifts the Sky as part of its family and education program.

A long time ago…

The sky was a blanket on the land. The earth was in darkness and the people were afraid. If not for the courage of Parrwang the magpie, determined to assist her newfound friends, this blanket may still be with us today.

Tjatjarrang (Big Sister) and Koki (Brother) are young, adventurous and tired of living in the dark. When they manage to climb to the highest branches of an ancient gum tree, they discover a world of colour and light and a friend in Parrwang (Magpie).

Parrwang decides to help her new friends lift the blanket of darkness from the young humans world. The plan is devised but Parrwang must first convince the Great Council of Birds led by Bunjil (Eagle). Will the council agree?

Crafted by the esteemed Yorta Yorta soprano and composer, Deborah Cheetham Fraillon AO, and brought to the stage by internationally acclaimed First Nations soprano, Sarah Prestwidge, Parrwang Lifts the Sky promises to captivate audiences with its blend of artistry, heritage, and innovation.

*Based on an original creation story from Wadawurrung Country.

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“Just because it is aimed at children and families does not mean the underlying themes pack any less of a punch or are any less urgent.”
— Elizabeth Flux, The Age
Parrwang Lifts the Sky - Web Programme
Download PDF (4 MB)

Creatives & Cast

Creative Team

Composer and Librettist Deborah Cheetham Fraillon AO
Conductor Aaron Wyatt
Director Elizabeth Hill-Cooper
Cultural Textile Design Dr Deanne Gilson Wadawurrung Elder
Cultural Scenic Design Billy-Jay O’Toole
Set & Costume Designer Mel Serjeant
Lighting Designer Peter Darby
Sound Designer Samuel Moxham


Parrwang Sarah Prestwidge
Gorngany Michaela Cadwgan
Koki Douglas Kelly

Also featuring students from University of Melbourne.


Victorian Opera Chamber Orchestra

Ticket Information

Ticket Prices

All Pricing

Price Type
Single Tickets
Digital Access
Education Performances
30yrs & under
Child (12 yrs & under)
Family (2 Adult / 2 Child)
Group (6+)
Student *
Teacher (1 free with each group of 10 students) *
Teacher - Additional *
Want to book tickets?
  • 2024 Concession include: Pension and Health Care Card holders, Full-time Students, and MEAA Members.
  • Other Discount prices available: Senior, 30 Years and Under, and Child (12 years and under) for select performances. Companion Card ticketing available.

In-theatre Subscription packages are no longer available online. For enquiries, phone 1300 822 849 or email our Subscriptions team.

Prices are correct at time of publishing and may vary. Pricing displayed are for full-priced tickets. Subscription discounts are calculated on full-priced Single Tickets.

Information on our Privacy and Ticketing Policies can be found here. We strongly advise that tickets should only be purchased via authorised ticket sellers. Tickets purchased through unauthorised sellers cannot be guaranteed.

Digital Access

  • Digital Access can be purchased as a subscription or individual performances. If you’d like to purchase a Digital Access Subscription click here.
  • Only one Digital Access booking required per household.
  • All Digital Access performances can be viewed live and on-demand for an extended period following the initial stream date as many times as you wish.

Access All Areas: Parrwang Lifts the Sky (Education performances)

  • School Group bookings available via Victorian Opera on 03 9001 6400.
  • One complimentary teacher ticket for every 10 students.
  • Additional teachers at student rate.

Dates & Times

  • Friday 10 May 10.30* am and 1.00 pm**
  • Monday 13 May 10.30 am
  • Tuesday 14 May 10.30 am
  • Wednesday 15 May 10.30 am and 1.00 pm~
  • Thursday 16 May 10.30 am and 1.00 pm~
  • Friday 17 May 10.30 am***

* Access an Audio Described Performance and a Tactile Tour. Tactile Tours are for ticket holders with a vision impairment and their companion to explore the props and costumes before the performance begins. Audio Description narrates the action on stage for audience members who are blind or visually impaired via a wireless receiver pack and earpiece. When organising your tickets, please ask the venue box office to book your Audio Description receiver and Tactile Tour. Find out more about Accessibility.

**Access a Relaxed Performance which is ideal for audience members with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down syndrome and those sensitive to sensory variance.

***Livestreamed Performance

~ With Secondary Schools

Ticketing Assistance

For assistance with subscriptions, contact our Subscriptions team on 1300 822 849 (Monday to Friday, 10:00 am – 4:30 pm) or email

For assistance with single ticket bookings, contact us via

COVID-19 Safety

The safety of our audience and team is paramount. Current COVID-safe procedures will be adhered to for every performance.

If you or a member of your household is unwell or displaying COVID-19 symptoms before a performance, please stay home. To exchange or refund your tickets due to feeling unwell, simply contact us prior to the scheduled performance via or phone (03) 9001 6412 (Monday to Friday, 10 am – 4.30 pm).

Malthouse Theatre, Merlyn Theatre

113 Sturt Street, Southbank, VIC 3006

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