Aviary // Synopsis // Creative Team // Accolades // Media // Video


Aviary: A Suite for the Bird

Les Oiseauxs en cage // Le coq dandy // Paradis

In this latest work from dance maverick Adams, the cage is awash with life. Aviary is a soaring treatise on the impulse toward spectacle and display, a flamboyant dance performance of exotic birdlife and uncommon adornment.

What is it to be written in nature, driven by competition to the boundaries of exhibitionism?

Only from the imaginings of choreographer Phillip Adams could this fantasia of contemporary movement and exotic birdlife set against the avian-inspired 20th Century idiom of French composer, Oliver Messiaen's ‘Catalogue d'Oiseaux (1958) come forth. Between the twitchy agitation of British New Wave, recordings of birdsong and the paradise of the New Guinea jungle, Aviary is an experience unlike any other.

A work for the caged bird, Aviary builds links between Messiaen's colourful exploration of birdsong and music, choreography and staging to produce an experimental interpretation of his scores.

Aviary was developed by BalletLab in association with The Australian Ballet and has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body; The Victorian Government through Arts Victoria; The Helen Macpherson Smith Trust; The Oliver-Affleck Fund and the Norman H Johns Trust managed by Perpetual Trustees; The Besen Family Foundation; and by the generous support of its individual donors.

Dedicated to the memory of Sebastian Horsley (1962-2010).


"It's massively brave dance making" - John Bailey (Capital Idea, blog)

"It feels like the future" - Chloe Smethurst, The Age

"With the sold-out season of BalletLab's Aviary: A Suite for the Bird, Phillip Adams reaffirms his status not just as an edgy choreographer but a major artist ... Aviary is a work in archetypal BalletLab style that challenges as much as it delivers. Love him or hate him, Phillip Adams is a game-changing pace-setter in contemporary dance." - Rita Dimasi, ArtsHub

"In Aviary, Phillip Adams creates dance of such intensity that it plunges the watcher into the experience, destroying any sense of distance from the work on stage ... Whatever else it is, Aviary is extraordinary." - Alison Croggon (Theatre Notes, blog)


Melbourne Festival 2011
Arts House, North Melbourne Town Hall
19 – 23 October 2011

Theatre Royal, Hobart
14 – 17 January 2012