Zubin Kanga Pre-Concert Talk

As part of Zubin Kanga’s latest instalment in his piano and multimedia trilogy, Piano Ex Machina, Tura will present a short pre-concert talk by pianist Zubin Kanga with composer Ben Carey. The pre-concert talk will be in Studio Underground at 6:45pm, before the concert at 7:30pm, Wednesday 24 April at the State Theatre Centre of WA. Hear about how new technology, now accessible to the public, can be used within music and composing for the piano.

In Piano Ex Machina, video games, 80s cinema, sci-fi and internet culture and Artificial Intelligence are given humorous and darker treatment in an entertaining program that includes works by Alexander Schubert, Jon Rose, Tristan Coelho, Kate Neal, Ben Carey, Adam de la Cour and Zubin Kanga.

The first concert in Zubin’s national tour in Melbourne sold out, and received a 5-star review from Limelight Magazine.

“Kanga’s Piano Ex Machina is a rewarding experience, rich in possibility, infused with curiosity and playfulness, and not afraid to explore conceptual and expressive horizons well beyond the boundaries of a traditional piano recital.” – Limelight Magazine ★★★★★

Zubin also recently spoke to Angus McPherson at Limelight Magazine about his national tour program. Zubin, who has spent most of his career exploring new approaches to the piano, says that his program “reflects what’s happening in our culture, with technology being integrated into our lives at every level, and the boundaries between different types of culture and art forms breaking down.”

Zubin Kanga performs in Sydney | Image by Chris Hayles

Speechless Premiere Finale

Tura’s world premiere season of Cat Hope’s Speechless as part of the 2019 Perth Festival has wound up with national critical acclaim.

Perth Festival Artistic Director Wendy Martin described Speechless as “an utterly powerful, visceral experience… and experiencing it was extraordinary.”

Music Director Aaron Wyatt and the Speechless Orchestra | Image by Toni Wilkinson

Years in the making, Tura honours composer and director Cat Hope not only for the work itself, but her tenacity and rigour in seeing it through to full production. Tura also praises and thanks all of the creatives, cast, community choir members, orchestra and crew who worked with us on this large-scale production. Special thanks go to Wendy Martin and the team at Perth Festival and the ongoing partnership with Monash University. Speechless would not have been possible without the support of Development Partner Vitalstatistix for facilitating the 2017 workshop in Port Adelaide.

Assistant Director Rakini Devi, soloists Sage Pbbbt and Judith Dodsworth, Composer and Director Cat Hope, and soloists Caitlin Cassidy and Karina Utomo | Image by Rachael Barrett

Tura acknowledges the essential support of The Bux Foundation, Melissa Parke and Warwick Hemsley, as well as the At the Heart donors to the Sound Connections philanthropic campaign.

Gratitude’s go to the members of the inspiring panel discussion on Tuesday 26 February, Cat Hope, social justice lawyer Melissa Parke and Amnesty International Regional Campaign Organiser for My New Neighbour, Claire Birch, hosted by Terri Ann White.

This new wordless opera is composer and director Cat Hope’s personal response to, the issue of voicelessness in society, and being silenced by legal, political or cultural means. Speechless is a vehicle to address these issues and as a reflection of this, the premiere season of Speechless supported Amnesty International and The Centre for Asylum Seekers, Refugees and Detainees (CARAD).

The Speechless Soloists | Image by Rachael Barrett

The reviews have been overwhelmingly positive with the work providing audiences and critics with a new perspective on the world of opera as well as a renewed awareness of issues facing marginalised and voiceless members of our society.

The Speechless Cast | Image by Frances Andrijich

Here’s a sample:

“[A] distinctively unique addition to this year’s formidable Perth Festival program… a stirring wordless opera.” Gutter Culture.

“Hope’s composition, the use of unusual stylistic devices, and the strong individual performances combine in Speechless to examine the trying existence of those living in detention across the world. The show succeeds in evoking great empathy amongst its audience.” Gutter Culture.

“Speechless was overwhelming; an experience so forcefully immersive, it was impossible to ignore. And that’s exactly what Australian society needs to experience.” Laura Biemmi, SeeSaw Magazine.

“an excellent opera-theatre experience, creating a nuanced commentary on an emotive issue without the need to preach to the audience. The visceral quality of the sound and the power of the emotions expressed through voice and instruments amply made a point about children in immigration detention. Speechless allows their plight to be heard. Words were superfluous.” The Conversation.

The Speechless Community Choir | Image by Rachael Barrett

“Power in silent plight… amazingly effective and potent.” The West Australian.

“As an evocation of humanitarian crises it was brutal, fascinating and emotionally gruelling. As it should be.” The Australian.

And some audience responses:

“a seriously incredible aural experience – it was a privilege to be in the audience”

“Speechless is challenging, weird, emotional and utterly enthralling.”

Soloist Karina Utomo | Image by Rachael Barrett


Tura’s Annual Program and Speechless are supported by the State Government through the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, in association with Lotterywest and The Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

Speechless Supports

“… when all words fail, music speaks.” Aussie Theatre on Speechless.

Speechless presents, and is composer and devisor Cat Hope’s personal response to, the issue of voicelessness in society, and being silenced by legal, political or cultural means. For Cat, Speechless was a vehicle to address this through music. As Cat says “I started to question what I could possibly do, as an artist, in the face of these issues. I believe music can be a conduit for contemplating difficult subjects, responding to them in a different way than a news report, overcoming the communication limits and barriers of words or the cold realism of a photograph.”

As a reflection of this, Speechless will be supporting the following charities during the Perth Festival season:

Amnesty International

We call out injustice, wherever it happens, and work together with people just like you to stand for human dignity- we believe that together, we can create a world where the most basic human rights are enjoyed by all.


The Centre for Asylum Seekers, Refugees and Detainees (CARAD)

The Centre for Asylum Seekers, Refugees and Detainees (CARAD) is an independent, not-for-profit organization that represents a community of people who support the rights of asylum seekers, refugees and detainees in Western Australia.


Speechless in Conversation

Enhance your experience of Speechless with two opportunities to get in conversation.

There will be a panel discussion after the performance on Tuesday 26 February in the main
hall of the Sunset Heritage Precinct, focusing on the wider issues that Speechless presents around voicelessness in society. This will be introduced by Perth Festival Artistic Director Wendy Martin, and hosted by Terri Ann White, and features composer Cat Hope, social justice lawyer Melissa Parke and Amnesty International Regional Campaign Organiser for My New Neighbour, Claire Birch. Don’t miss out on this one, tickets for Speechless are moving quickly.

On Saturday 2 March there will also be a post-show conversation with Composer & Director Cat Hope.

Otherwise, there are plenty of chances to debrief the show in the Sunset Bar, onsite at the Sunset Heritage Precinct, open before the performance from 7pm, and again afterwards until 10:30pm.


The Sunset Bar

Looking for something to do before and after Speechless?

The on-site Sunset Bar at the Sunset Heritage Precinct will be open from 7pm before each performance, 26 Feb – 3 Mar, and then again after the show until 10:30pm.

We’re also excited to announce that the renowned Cullen Wines in Wilyabrup is supporting Speechless, and will be served at the bar.

The Speechless Score

Cat Hope’s contemporary opera Speechless uses animated graphic notation. Graphic notation is the representation of music through the use of visual symbols in place of traditional music notationIt is then put in motion, making it animated.

The graphic score is read in performance on synchronised iPads, using the Decibel ScorePlayer application. The score ‘image’ is over thirty meters long, but the iPad provides a window to the score as it scrolls the past a vertical playhead, the point where the musicians read the score. Below is a screenshot of one moment for the 30-piece multi-instrumental Australian Bass Orchestra:

All of the elements of the Speechless score are derived from the Human Rights Commission report, “The Forgotten Children: National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention” (2014). The design of the notation is derived from materials in the report: graphs, children’s drawings, photographs and even the graphic layout of the document. The colours are also sampled from the report.

The colours for the orchestral parts come from the children’s drawings, and the vocal parts use colours from the photographs in the report. There are no words in the opera.

For composer and director Cat Hope, the graphic notation is a key aspect of the work “I like to think that the orchestra and singers are ‘re-reading’ the report, re-defining the idea of a conventional libretto.”

Music Director Aaron Wyatt gives an insight into how animated graphic notation works in the video below.

The Newest Arts Venue in Perth

The newest arts venue in Perth has a long history with abandonment and ‘voiceless-ness’.

First established in 1904 as Claremont Old Men’s Home, Sunset Hospital, renamed in 1943, was built as a hospital and an aged-care facility, to house men who were unable to support themselves in their old age, often agricultural and pastoral workers, gold prospectors or former convicts.

Overlooking the Swan River, mid-way between Perth and Fremantle, Sunset offered respite to those without family or care, much to the consternation of its neighbours. The site consists of original hospital wards, mortuary, kitchen, and an infirmary, built out of limestone blocks.

The Sunset Heritage Precinct was heritage listed in 1997 and has recently commenced a full restoration.


The world premiere of Cat Hope’s opera Speechless, 26 Feb – 3 Mar, will take over the Sunset Heritage Precinct as part of the 2019 Perth Festival, filling every corner of the old hall with the multi-instrumental 30-piece Australian Bass Orchestra, a choir of 30 community singers, and four of Australia’s most versatile soloists.

Speechless is a contemporary opera created as a personal response to the 2014 Australian Human Rights Commission report ‘The Forgotten Children: National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention’. Through a vocal language beyond words, Speechless is Hope’s musical exploration of the impact on those rendered speechless through political means.

Speechless reimagines the space in a new way – transforming a derelict old men’s home, into a creative hub, exploring notions of voicelessness and displacement, and offering music as a way to grapple with complex, difficult problems. As composer Cat Hope says “We all love music – it has an incredible abstract power that we often respond to emotionally – I want to see if I can leverage that to help us consider dilemmas in a new way, and reinforce qualities of empathy, participation and elation.”

Sunset hall where the world premiere season of Speechless takes place.


26 FEB – 3 MAR 2019
$25-$49 (+BF) TICKETS

This 2019 Perth Festival World Premiere season is designed specifically for the new Sunset Heritage Arts Precinct.

Find out more about Speechless and book tickets now from Perth Festival.

Tura and Scoop

Tura has partnered with Scoop to bring the latest in new music and the sonic arts to your inboxes. As WA’s comprehensive guide for ‘what’s on’, Scoop’s mission is to develop Perth and WA as a hub for arts, events, culture and travel. Scoop boasts a sophisticated, bilingual website showcasing hundreds of events in and around WA. As a community-based platform, Scoop offers free event listings and the unique opportunity to reach a large audience of over 65,000 active users.

Never miss a beat on what’s on in and around WA with the Scoop newsletter, sign up here.


The Speechless Soloists

Premiering at the 2019 Perth Festival, Speechless will be brought to life by four brilliant and versatile soloists. With four very different vocal styles, the opera features one of Australia’s finest interpreters of contemporary operatic repertoire Judith Dodsworth, lead singer of the Australian heavy metal powerhouse High Tension, Karina Utomo, Western Australian experimental vocalist Sage Pbbbt and Persian vocal trailblazer Tara Tiba.

Composer and director Cat Hope says “it is important to me that a contemporary opera represents more styles of music than the classical genre of which it grew. Judith is an operatic voice, Karina comes from a heavy metal background, Tara is an Iranian classical singer who studies jazz, and Sage is an improvisor influenced by a wide range of practices. The musical director, Aaron Wyatt, is a Noongar man – it was important that an Australian Indigenous person took a leadership role in the rendering of the work.

Meet the soloists, and then see them in action 26 February to 3 March at the newest arts venue in Perth, the Sunset Heritage Precinct – don’t miss out on this one.

Speechless Artists


Rachael Dease in Sunset

Presented by STRUT, in association with Tura, as part of the 2019 Perth Festival, Maxine Doyle’s visceral site-specific dance-theatre work Sunset will feature an original sound score by renowned WA composer and sound designer Rachael Dease.

Known for her award-winning song cycles City of Shadows and From A Small Distant World, and as a formidable front woman, Dease returns to the live string quartet in combination with her immersive sound design and live vocals. Her haunting and uplifting sound score will be heard throughout the rooms and hall of the Sunset Heritage Precinct as the performers move through the space, guiding the audience in a truly immersive visual and sonic experience.

The new original score has been made possible by Tura, with support from The Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding advisory body.

Tura would also like to acknowledge donors to the Sound Connections philanthropic campaign for their generous contribution to this project.


7 FEB – 17 FEB 2019
$25-$65 (+BF) TICKETS

Leave your comfort zone and enter a mysterious world where you wander with the spirits of Perth’s colourful past. Discover forgotten secrets in the dusty shadows of one of our city’s most intriguing and significant heritage sites – Sunset down by the iconic Swan River.

From the renowned UK director-choreographer Maxine Doyle (co-director of Punchdrunk’s The Drowned Man, Sleep No More) comes a visceral dance-theatre performance that is epic in reach but intimate in experience. Inspired by the riverside precinct’s rich and unique history and the bushland that surrounds it, a stunning team of Australian creatives, including the indomitable Racheal Dease, transform the former Sunset Old Men’s Home into a waiting room between worlds, where classical myth collides with WA stories and local heroes can waltz with gods.

Find out more about Sunset and book tickets now from Perth Festival.

Production Partners
Perth Festival

A Perth Festival co-commission and world premiere.

Image by Simon Pynt.