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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 a traditional story from Wadawurrung Country.



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

*Digital Access available

50 min, no interval

Sung in English and Wadawurrung language with scene descriptors

Relaxed Performance - Friday 11 June 2021, 1.00 pm

As per government guidelines masks must be carried with you at all times. Masks must be worn indoors, including during a performance. Masks must also be worn outdoors where you cannot safely distance from other patrons. Children under the age of 12 do not need to wear a mask. Read more about our venues' COVIDSafe procedures.

Digital Access

Parrwang Lifts the Sky will be livestreamed on Saturday 12 June at 2.00 pm. Digital Access allows you to watch live and on-demand for six months following the performance date. You can purchase Digital Access as part of a subscription package (2+ performances) or as an individual performance.

Digital Subscription $24
Digital Access $30
(Processing fees apply per order)

Dedicated School Performances

Schools can take their students and teacher behind the scenes of Parrwang Lifts the Sky. All in-theatre school bookings include four free online workshops as part of our Access All Areas: Livestream Program.

$16 per student with one teacher for every 10 students admitted free of charge. School based subsidy and access programs available. Book via Arts Centre Melbourne.

Creatives & Cast

Composer and Librettist Deborah Cheetham
Conductor Richard Mills
Director Elizabeth Hill-Cooper, assisted by Deborah Cheetham
Cultural Scenic Design BJ O’Toole
Cultural Textile Design Deanne Gilson
Set and Costume Designer Mel Serjeant
Lighting Designer Peter Darby
Orchestra Victorian Opera Chamber Ensemble


Parrwang Georgina Hall
Gorngany Deborah Cheetham
Bunjil / Father Don Christopher
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

Book Tickets

Single Tickets $38

Price Type One Reserve
Adult $38
Concession $33
Senior $33
30 Years & Under $30
Child $28
Family Offer (2 Adults / 2 Child) $112
Arts Access $30

In-theatre tickets will go on sale according to current Victorian COVID-Safe guidelines. Changes to restrictions may result in changes to seating configurations in our venues. Should this happen, unfortunately we are unable to accommodate requests to change seating. 

Single ticket fees and charges (Arts Centre Melbourne): Online orders may be subject to a Service Charge of up to $8.95 per order, plus any optional additional postage charges. Ticket delivery options for Arts Centre Melbourne include Mobile Ticket (No Charge) or Collect from the venue (Add $5.00). For more information on Mobile Ticket delivery, please see the venue website.

Digital Access ticket orders include a $1.50 (inc. GST) processing fee per order. Digital Access subscriptions include a $2.50 (inc. GST) processing fee per order.

Subscriptions closed Wednesday 24 February. For changes to Subscriptions, please phone the Victorian Opera Subscription line on 1300 822 849 (Monday to Friday, 9:30am-4:30pm).

Concession subscription prices are available to Pension and Health Care Card holders, full-time Students and MEAA Members. Ticket prices are correct at time of publishing and may vary. A booking fee may apply. Price reserve maps for this production can be found on our Venue Information page. Information on our Privacy and Ticketing Policies can be found here.

We strongly advise that tickets only be purchased via authorised ticket sellers. For Parrwang Lifts the Sky these may include Arts Centre Melbourne, Tix, TakeYourSeats and Halftix. Tickets purchased through unauthorised sellers cannot be guaranteed. 

In association with

Short Black Opera

This production is supported by

Jane Hemstritch