The Sydney Opera House presents UnWrapped in May and June

"RUNT" will play the Studio in the Sydney Opera House from 12 to 14 May as part of UnWrapped. Photo: supplied.

UnWrapped will feature captivating stories and true artistry from Emmy Award-winning filmmakers and critically acclaimed performers. Arts and entertainment editor Tahli Blackman reports.

The Sydney Opera House will soon present the latest season of UnWrapped, an instalment of visual art pieces, film projects, live music and theatre performances. The biannual event kicks off on 8 May in the Studio with musical offering MotherTongue, MotherLand and concludes on 11 June.

Since its launch in 2018, UnWrapped has been the platform for independent Australian artists to showcase new and diverse works. Sydney Opera House Director of Programming and UnWrapped curator Fiona Winning believes strongly that artists have always helped us process the world around us.

“The artists in this season of UnWrapped offer their own ‘takes’ on our contemporary world,” Winning says.

“With fierce intelligence, wit and a deep sense of wonder, these works are created by some of Australia’s most compelling independent artists.”

MotherTongue, MotherLand is described as an immersive and poetic response to motherhood. Korean-born composer and vocalist improviser Sunny Kim has assembled a talented group of international musicians for the production, including Helen Svoboda, Aviva Endean, Mindy Meng Wang and Gelareh Pour. Each musician will explore a different relationship with their mothers, telling intimate stories of family history and culture through music narratives and different waves of instruments.

This performance piece is commissioned by the New Work Now initiative under the Sydney Opera House.

Sunny Kim is pictured in her previous work, To Dance With Our Others In Embrace. Photo: Sung Hyun Sohn.

HOW TO LIVE (After You Die) is a project by the director of the Emmy Award-winning Collisions and Awavena, filmmaker and artist Lynette Wallworth. This work is being shown at the Playhouse from Thursday, 12 May to Saturday, 14 May.

Wallworth uses her immersive artwork to navigate questions about how we are influenced by others and our beliefs. Christian cults and QAnon collide with Walworth’s personal experience of being manipulated by extremist groups.

“I abdicated responsibility entirely to a God-sized roulette wheel that made every decision for me, and it didn’t end well. I had lost my identity,” she says in the film’s trailer.

This work was commissioned for UnWrapped to give a new perspective on how some may struggle with identity and faith.

Lynette Wallworth, pictured, draws on her own personal experience of being manipulated by radical religious groups in her film HOW TO LIVE (After You Die). Photo: Lauren Orrell

RUNT is a theatrical production playing the Studio as part of UnWrapped, from Thursday, 12 May to Saturday, 14 May.

This show is written by Australian playwright Patricia Cornelius, who also wrote the critically acclaimed SHIT, presented at the 2017 Sydney Festival. The work follows how the runts of the world, those who are unwanted or seemingly insignificant, rise and fight for equality.

Nicci Wilks performs in this daring one-woman show, playing the woman who attempts to lead the oppressed to justice. This play is appealing to the underdog and will resonate with anyone who has ever felt like an outsider.

Nicci Wilks, pictured, performing RUNT at the fortyfivedownstairs theatre in Melbourne in 2021. Photo: Pier Carthew.

Closing this season of UnWrapped is Coil, which is described as a live cinema experience and reflection on how streaming has killed local video renting stores. Coil is being shown in the Studio from Wednesday, 8 June to Saturday, 11 June.

The show questions what the loss of physical and communal spaces is doing to us as a society. It also questions the evolving new technologies and how they have made places like the video store obsolete.

Steve Wilson-Alexander, pictured, is a co-creator of Coil and performs in the live show alongside his other co-creators. Photo: Rosie Hastie.

This experience is being brought to the stage by the re:group performance collective, comprising Steve Wilson-Alexander, Solomon Thomas, Carly Young and Mark Rogers. The group of artists based between Sydney, Hobart and Wollongong invites us to explore the joys and perils of nostalgia.

These four immersive works will be shown throughout the busy months of May and June only. Don’t miss the chance to witness this season’s series of remarkable works by from independent creators at the Sydney Opera House.

UnWrapped will be held from Sunday, 8 May to Saturday, 11 June at the Sydney Opera House. For tickets and more information, visit https://www.sydneyoperahouse.com/events/whats-on/unwrapped.html

Tahli Blackman is the arts and entertainment editor of the Sydney Sentinel.

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