Sue Healey

Wynscreen contributing artist.

Born 1962, Auckland, New Zealand. 
Lives in Sydney, Australia.

EN ROUTE 
2016, duration 30 mins, looped
Commissioned by Transport for NSW

Artist Statement 

Railways have always sparked ideas about moving – being en route to somewhere else, somewhere out of the ordinary. Railways are also synonymous with invention, evoking a sense of vision and endeavour, in creating new ways of seeing and sensing the world.

Our ingenuity for devising ways to get from here to there – travelling through space and time with acuity – is the driving force behind this film.

The dancer is a precise activator of these ideas, placed within the dynamic setting of the railway, as a physical investigator. Dynamic human trajectories along tracks and tunnels create a visceral exploration of the railway, as lines of action and portals to other times. 

Dancers in this film reflect an extraordinary diversity of age, from three to 102 years old. They are pioneers and renowned inventors in the dance field, with a wealth of history contained within their bodies, including:

  • Eileen Kramer aged 102, who was a member of the internationally celebrated Bodenweiser Company in Sydney in the 1940s.
  • Elizabeth Cameron Dalman OAM, aged 82, recognised as the founder of Australian modern dance, who established the Australian Dance Theatre in 1965
  • Don Asker aged 69, acclaimed dancer/choreographer with the Netherlands Dance Theatre and now farmer in Eden, NSW.
  • Partners Anca Frankenhaeuser and Patrick Harding-Irmer, former members of the London Contemporary Dance Theatre, performing internationally for 15 years, before returning to Sydney in 1990. 

The action is situated on historical and disused NSW railways: Eveleigh, Helensburgh, Cooma, Bombala and Jincumbilly. The abandoned lines and tunnels suggest portals to the past, of times forgotten and spaces once travelled. The lines also suggest vectors through time – steering us into the future, grounded but always leading into unknown territory. 

A meditation on time-lines, life-lines and transience, En Route moves us through an array of forgotten rail spaces in NSW. 

Production Credits

  • Director and Editor: Sue Healey
  • Director of Photography: Judd Overton
  • Producer: Pippa Bailey, Performing Lines
  • Camera Assistant: Matt Chow
  • Film crew: The Graffer
  • Costume Design Assistant: Ella Lincoln
  • Film Assistant: Jacob Edmonds
  • Technical Advisor: Hai Tran
  • Performers: Don Asker, James Batchelor, Elizabeth Dalman, Jacob Edmonds, Anca Frankenhaeuser, Ghenoa Gela, Patrick Harding-Irmer, Lisa Griffiths, Raghav Handa, Kei Ikeda, Eileen Kramer, Nalina Wait, with children Barnaby Scott, Aiya Ting, Marina Seet, Leila Karlsen, Poppy Synnott 

Acknowledgments

Special thanks: Paul Mitchell, Creative Practice Unit, UNSW for wardrobe assistance; Garry Massoud, Events Transport Manager, Sydney Trains; Create or Die Studios; Dan and the donkeys from Jincumbilly; Wendy Batchelor; Richard and Ben Harvey 

Artist Biography

Sue Healey is a choreographer and filmmaker, and one of Australia’s foremost independent dance-makers. 

Experimenting with form and perception, Healey creates dance for diverse spaces and contexts: theatres, galleries and the camera. Her work has toured to Asia, USA, UK and throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Healey received the prestigious Creative Fellowship in 2014 from the Australia Council for Arts, and was made an Honorary Fellow of the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne in 2015. 

Her films are widely acclaimed and awarded, including four Australian Dance Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Dance on Film/New Media; Winner Reeldance Australia; and Il Coreografo Elettronico, Napolidanza, Italy. She has created seven major works with cinematographer Judd Overton, her key film collaborator.

Her recent feature documentaries, Virtuosi and The Golds have screened in many international festivals including New York, Amsterdam, Montreal, Hong Kong, Indonesia, China and throughout Europe. Her recent performance installation work, the award-winning On View series, was shown at Dance Massive Festival Melbourne (On View: Quintet), Performance Space at Carriageworks, Sydney (On View: Live Portraits), and in regional centres including Port Macquarie, Cairns, Toowoomba. 

Sue is currently creating On View: Asia, produced by West Kowloon Cultural District Authority, to become a major performance installation in Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan, 2017–19. 

www.suehealey.com