Branch Nebula Pushes the Physical Limits

Branch Nebula’s Lee Miller. Photo Tristan Still

One-Man Mind-Bending Show in High Performance Packing Tape

Sydney Opera House | Sept 18-22

Branch Nebula’s mind-bending one-man show High Performance Packing Tape will take The Studio at Sydney Opera House by storm from 18-22 September as part of the UnWrapped September series.

This season follows a critically acclaimed, sold-out premiere at Liveworks 2018 and comes to the Sydney Opera House after an international premiere at Homo Novus Festival in Riga in September, and will also tour to the Melbourne International Arts Festival in October.

Boundary-pushing performance-makers Branch Nebula use ready-made objects, stationery and hardware items to place solo performer Lee Wilson in a series of tension-inducing planes and predicaments, pushing both artist and materials to breaking point. High Performance Packing Tape explores fear, the dynamics of self-preservation and risk- management to create thrilling new possibilities for physical performance.

Wilson deftly transforms everyday materials and office consumables into the infrastructure of his own peril. He scales towers of empty cardboard boxes that inevitably collapse, suspends himself from materials that stretch and snap, and balances precariously on structures held together by inflated balloons. This captivating performance holds the audience in an electrifying state of suspense at the very point where control and chaos collide.

High Performance Packing Tape is a collaborative work by Lee Wilson, Mickie Quick, Mirabelle Wouters and Phil Downing in consultation with Antek Marciniec and produced by Harley Stumm (Intimate Spectacle).

Lee Wilson and Mirabelle Wouters together form Branch Nebula, and independent Sydney-based company that is well known on the world festival circuit for pushing at the boundaries of performance. Working at the nexus between theatre, dance, sport and street-styles, Branch Nebula take audiences into the extreme creativity of urban landscapes, and immerses them in real-time experiences. Branch Nebula are renowned for socially and politically engaged performance work that emphasises site-specificity, inter-disciplinary skills and audience engagement. They interrogate the audience experience and explore contemporary culture as a means of creating access and speaking to a broad audience.

In the past, Branch Nebula have worked with artists to create new visions for engaging with BMX, skating, parkour, tricking, and contemporary dance. Most recently Branch Nebula presented STOP-GO for the Keir Choreographic Awards. In 2016 they curated Swarm for Campbelltown Art Centre’s live art program, developed Foodfight with artist Diego Bonetto for the MCA’s C3West, and toured a collaboration with Wade Marynowsky, The Robot Opera, to Taiwan. Other productions include Artwork, Whelping Box, and Concrete And Bone Sessions. And from 2016-2018 Branch Nebula toured Snake Sessions to twelve skateparks around Australia.

The Opera House’s UnWrapped September series also includes The Irresistible from Side Pony Production and The Last Great Hunt, and two performance lectures exploring the role of the artist in our climate emergency: David Finnigan’s You’re Safe Until 2024 and Rosalind Crisp’s DIRtywork.

For a company committed to explorations of the nature of work and of play as art, High Performance Packing Tape represents a superb synthesis of these preoccupations and the apotheosis to date of Branch Nebula’s creativity. Lee Wilson’s worker is indefatigably industrious, skilled, inventive and risk-taking.” (RealTime)



18- 22 September 2019
The Studio, Sydney Opera House
Age recommendation: 14+ (performance contains smoke, strobe lighting and nudity)