© 2019 Noosa Alive Created by Mallee Bay Studio


Welcome to NOOSA alive!, a 10 day festival of theatre, literature, music, dance, film, visual arts, cuisine and barrier-breaking forums – in one of Australia’s most enviable destinations: Noosa Heads, Queensland.

Founded by prominent Australian playwright David Williamson, author Kristin Williamson, internationally renowned violinist Brett Dean, environmental activist Dr Michael Gloster, restaurateur Leonie Palmer-Fisher together with Rick Clayton and Ros McCauley.

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NOOSA Alive! Presents Thomas E.S. Kelly in association with Karul Projects


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Fri, 26 July 2019

7:00pm - 07:50pm

Time & Location

Noosa Arts Theatre

Weyba Road, Noosaville, QLD, 4566 




A stand-out event on the NOOSA alive! 2019 program is Thomas E.S. Kelly's  [MIS]CONCEIVE - at the Noosa Arts Theatre Friday 26 July.

Combining Aboriginal cultural knowledge with contemporary gestural motifs, [MIS]CONCEIVE’s fusion of hip hop, physical percussion and rhythmic cultural pattern is expressive and immediate. Through the mash-up of traditional and contemporary styles that simultaneously reject, reveal and re-educate modern (mis)understandings of Indigenity, [MIS]CONCEIVE argues that ‘knowledge’ does not equal comprehension. Books are not their covers. One size does not fit all.

Kelly and his ensemble move with assured physicality in this high-energy work that pulses with humour, play and personal stories. Voice and body become pathways to traditional dance and song, as repetition and disguise make way for moments of discovery. [MIS]CONCEIVE brings audiences through the past, to understand the present and move forward into a better future.

Are there new movements or themes in the work which have become more or less important to you over the last few years?

Every element of [MIS]CONCEIVE is important to the overall, some elements have evolved and are varied from the original but in the complete picture it is to solidify the subject matter of the work. Evolution of a work to me is exciting, because it means that after three years, five previous tours and a Green Room Award it still excites me to keep working on it, to want to make it even better for the next audience.


What can people expect to take away from your show this year?

This show has intensity and is real, it sprinkles humour throughout and pulls everyone together no matter where you come from as we are all walking on the same songlines. This is a special season, we rack up show number 20 and 21 with this being our sixth season, which is exciting for a young independent company to reach. Also we are now officially a Queensand based
company so it’s exciting to present a work in Qld as a Qld company.

What does the future hold for Thomas E.S. Kelly and Karul Projects?

We are very excited by both the immediate and long distance future. As mentioned before we are now based in Queensland on the Gold Coast and we are excited about the potential to bring a professional contemporary Indigenous dance company to the area. We have a few exciting projects lined up to develop and present as well as performing as a dancer for other companies an artists. It’s an exciting time for the Arts in Qld and we at Karul are very excited to join and become apart of the growth.

Graduating NAISDA Dance College in 2012. Thomas E.S. Kelly has made his mark on Australian dance, working with many of Australia's major performing arts companies and in 2017 founding his own, Karul Projects. A proud Bundjalung-Yugambeh, Wiradjuri and Ni-Vanuatu man, Thomas E.S Kelly’s work as a choreographer and dancer explores the connection between contemporary culture and traditional motifs. His award winning production,
[MIS]CONCEIVE, will be appearing at NOOSA alive! this year we and caught up with Thomas recently to learn more about him and his art.


Thomas, with a background in a number of different artforms, what is it about dance which has drawn you to pursue it as your primary practice?

Dance provides a feeling of freedom and the act of storytelling with a body allows people the opportunity to see multiple story lines. I very much still utilise many aspects altogether in my work, whether I compose the music, write and deliver text, film and edit it is all used as tools to enhance the body, the dance and physical rhythm showcased on stage.


How does your education across different genres of dance and art inform your work today?

Well I have studied everything, ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, contemporary as well as cultural dance, both from a young age and at NAISDA. They all have elements in what I do because mostly I am in the contemporary sector which allows the influence of whatever is really influencing you to inform you’re choreography, it’s not bound by specific constructs like ballet is for example.


Having worked extensively with other artists and companies both what is it about contemporary Australian dance culture do you find most exciting?

I love the evolving nature of what contemporary is and the ability to explore yourself in the genre. Contemporary here is completely different to what contemporary is in North America and same but different in Europe. We all have similar influences but interpret and explore them differently. This is why I have a movement physicality that I would say is different to anyone else, because I have a pathway of learning that no one else has from both national and international artists.

Your work [MIS]CONCEIVE first premiered in 2016 and was performed across Australia and Canada with reviewers labelling it “fierce and exciting” and a “new way of thinking” before it was awarded a Green Room Award in 2017 for Outstanding Choreography. Since its initial performance, has [MIS]CONCEIVE developed or changed?

[MIS]CONCEIVE has developed a lot over the past three years, it’s a subject matter that is forever evolving. There’s always another story or another anecdote that can add to what [MIS]CONCEIVE is. The work matures each time we present it as I as an artist, choreographer, storyteller have matured within my career.


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