Skip to main content

You are here

29 - 30 April 2022

While You Sleep

While You Sleep has a strict lockout. Latecomers will not be admitted once the performance commences.

An aural and visual excursion into both the musical fugue and the psychological 'fugue state', While You Sleep unites string quartet, piano, electronics, video and animation in a surreal counterpoint of music, movement and image where nothing is quite as it seems. The inherent contradiction and tension between these two very different possibilities is at the heart of this work, as is an exploration of the selective truth of memory, and the compelling possibilities of delusion.

Hand-drawn animation, live action, video and stop-motion are choreographed alongside the musicians on the stage. Pianist Jacob Abela, violinists Isabel Hede and Zachary Johnston, violist Phoebe Green and cellist David Moran are set in motion so that they trace intricate tracks and lines of flight across the stage on foot and on wheeled chairs. The music is memorised, and the performers engage and interact with three large screens, reversing, whizzing, spinning, emerging and disappearing between live performative elements and animated/visual content.

Exploring flight, escape, memory and dissociation, While You Sleep is both contra­ puntal experiment and escape from the present. Embracing the elaborate complexi­ty of the musical fugue - where a phrase is introduced by one instrument and then taken up by others - the work weaves gesture, design, light and immersive visuals. Hand-drawn animation, live action, video and stop-motion are choreographed alongside the musicians on the stage. Alluding to experiences that prompt the fugue state's loss of self, While You Sleep dives into memory, uncertainty and our own delicate, repeated patterns of behaviour. Dark, subtle, surprising and moving, While You Sleep deftly probes the uncertain landscapes between grief and identity, reality and illusion.

Read More: Cut Common | Sometimes Melbourne | What Did She Think | Theatre People

Lend an Ear: Living Arts Canberra

What makes While You Sleep exceptionally theatrical is the interlink with Cooper's video art articulation of the fugue form, and the release of the musicians from their music stands and each other through the development. The string quartet take off, careening around the stage on office chairs, creating shapes and patterns mirroring the work in the video art, combining, dispersing, and recombining in groupings of loss and recovering just as the music is also dispersing in episodes and recombining in restatements of the subject. - Samara, What Did She Think

Creative Directors:
Sal Cooper, Kate Neal

Kate Neal

Screen-Based Media:
Sal Cooper

Dramaturge / Co-director:
Jackson Castiglione

String Quartet:
Zachary Johnston
Isabel Hede
Phoebe Green
David Moran

Piano: Jacob Abela



CIMF | TURA | Kate Neal | Sal Cooper


Street One | Reserved | With COVID 19 restrictions being lifted Street One is now being sold at 100% Capacity.

As physical distancing will not be possible, patrons who feel uncomfortable may wish to reconsider their attendance.

As of 6pm Friday 25 February masks are not mandatory at indoor live performance venues. Should you require a mask, one can be picked up at the box office.

Click here for more information on COVID 19 venue safety.

More information

Canberra International Music Festival
The Street & Tura Presents
While You Sleep

Friday 29th April, 7:30pm
Saturday 30th April, 7:30pm

Standard: $50.00 
Concession: $45.00 
CIMF Members: $42.00 
Students: $30.00


15 Childers St,

City West ACT 2601

Directions & Map

Monday - Friday

10am - 3pm


Also opens

1.5 hours prior

to performance.


02 6247 1223
Email The Street

  • icon-tw.svgicon-tw.svg
  • icon-fb.svgicon-fb.svg
  • icon-inst.svgicon-inst.svg
  • icon-yt.svgicon-yt.svg
  • icon-in.svgicon-in.svg
  • icon-vk.svgicon-vk.svg

Supported by