The Murphy heritage preserved on film

When Rafael Bonachela was appointed artistic director of the Sydney Dance Company at the end of 2008 he told me: “This company has to build a new identity”.

The company had been led by Graeme Murphy for 31 years, and renewal was a priority for Bonachela and the board. Since then, none of Murphy’s works has been performed by SDC but now the company has announced a new initiative to preserve the work of Murphy, its former artistic director and his wife, Janet Vernon.

Film and video recordings of many of their works are being edited and digitised by Philippe Charluet, who filmed SDC both in performance and behind the scenes for three decades and a new documentary will interweave interviews with Murphy over those 30 years with new footage in which he reflects on this body of work.

The films will include performances of Berlin, Grand, Shades of Gray, Ellipse, Tivoli, Mythologia, Air & Other Invisible Forces, Salome, Synergy with Synergy, Poppy, King Roger, Kraanerg and Rumours.

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Josef Brown, Tracey Trundle and Bradley Chatfield, Sydney Dance Company’s Salome, choreography by Graeme Murphy, photo © Lois Greenfield