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Deborah Cheetham

Parrwang Lifts the Sky

Arts Centre Melbourne, Playhouse
12 Jun 2021

Did you know that magpies created the first dawn?*

A long time ago…

The sky was a blanket on the land. The earth was in darkness and the people were afraid. It was a very sad state of affairs and would have stayed that way except for the courage of Parrwang the Magpie.

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 an exciting new world and a steadfast friend in Parrwang, who decides to help the young humans lift the blanket of darkness from the ground. 

A plan is devised, but can Parrwang convince the Great Council of Birds to agree?

*Based on an original story from Wadawurrung Country told to the children of the Wadawurrung by community Elder, the late Uncle David Tournier.



Arts Centre Melbourne, Playhouse

Saturday 12 June 2021, 11.00 am
Saturday 12 June 2021, 2.00 pm*
Saturday 12 June 2021, 5.00 pm

50 min, no interval

Sung in English and Wadawurrung language with scene descriptors

*Livestream available

Relaxed Performance - Friday 11 June 2021, 1.00 pm

Parrawang Lifts the Sky goes on sale in Quarter 2

Subscriptions will be available from Thursday 11 February to Wednesday 24 February. Single tickets on sale from Thursday 25 February.

Subscription Tickets $30
Single Tickets $38

2021 Concession prices include: Pension and Health Care Card holders, Full-time Students, MEAA Members. Other Discount prices available: Senior, 30 Years and Under, Child (14 years and under), Arts Access Victoria. Companion Card ticketing available.

Ticket Concierge

Excited to see Parrwang Lifts the Sky and don’t want to miss the on-sale date? We can help. Register your interest using our new Ticket Concierge.

Digital Access

The performance of Parrwang Lifts the Sky on Saturday 12 June at 2:00 pm will be livestreamed as part of our Virtual Victorian Opera program. You can purchase digital access as part of a subscription package or individually, with both live and on-demand streaming options. Digital subscription packages now available. Individual streams on sale Thursday 25 February.

Creatives & Cast

Composer and Librettist Deborah Cheetham
Conductor Richard Mills
Director Cameron Menzies, assisted by Deborah Cheetham
Cultural Set Design BJ O’Toole
Cultural Costume Design Deanne Gilson
Set and Costume Construction Designer Mel Serjeant
Orchestra Victorian Opera Chamber Ensemble


Parrwang Georgina Hall
Gorngany Deborah Cheetham
Bunjil / Father Don Bemrose
Mr Waa Kiran Rajasingam
Mrs Waa / Mother Shauntai Batzke
Tjatjarrang Jess Hitchcock
Koki Michael Petruccelli

Parrwang Lifts the Sky image by Ammie Howell and BJ O’Toole

In association with

Short Black Opera

This production is supported by

Jane Hemstritch