ISLAND is a new performance installation by James Batchelor and collaborators. It has been developed as part of the Housemate residency at Dancehouse in Melbourne and was recently presented in Canberra with the support of Arts ACT and the Canberra Theatre Centre.

The work is a three-part study in space, investigating the role of structure in how we perceive and respond to our environment. Movement, sound and design aim to deconstruct the symbols that veil our perception of space and offer an alternative reading of what defines the body from its external environment. The work sources inspiration from three remote islands in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans, as sites for utopian experimentation and concentrated analysis of space. The work also responds to the literature Island and The Doors of Perception by Aldous Huxley, Cinders by TE Hulme and Black Mass and The Silence of Animals by John Gray.

Island review by Michelle Potter

Island in the Canberra Times

NEW!! Time Out review


James Batchelor is a performer, choreographer and installation artist from Canberra now based in Melbourne. His choreographic practice hybridises performance and visual arts to create dynamic and multisensory environments.

As a performer he has worked with choreographers such as Sue Healey (Inevitable Scenarios, Sydney Opera House and Artshouse), Antony Hamilton (Black Project 2, Dance Massive) and Stephanie Lake (Aorta, Chunky Move).

His most significant choreographic work to date is the dance and media installation Ersatz, which has been developed and presented across residencies in Australia, France, Thailand and the United Kingdom in collaboration with dance, environmental sculpture, digital animation and sound artists. Originally commissioned by the Canberra You are Here Festival, Ersatz has since been presented at the Canberra Museum and Gallery, Blindside Gallery, Revolt Artspace, PAVE Festival and was presented by the Australian Embassy in Bangkok at Paragon Infinicity Hall. It was supported through grants from the City of Melbourne, Arts ACT, Screen ACT, the Dr Phillip Law Travel Scholarship and the Graduate Mentor Scholarship jointly awarded by Arts Victoria and the Victorian College of the Arts.

He is the 2014 Dancehouse Housemate, a supported residency program that will result in the creation of a new work combining dance and architecture, Island. He has also gained support from Arts ACT to tour this project to the Canberra Theatre Centre. In 2014 he has been commissioned to create a new work on the QL2 Quantum Leap ensemble Cinders that will tour to London, Glasgow and Bangkok in July.

He completed a Bachelor of Dance at the Victorian College of the Arts in 2012 and received the VCA Graduate Mentors Scholarship, Joy Nicholls Scholarship, Dr Phillip Law Travel Scholarship, Lionel Gell scholarship and the Friends of VCA Award. He is also an Australia Council Artstart and JUMP recipient and was awarded the Canberra Young Citizen of the Year for Arts in 2010.


Design: Ella Leoncio is a practicing architect who studied at The University of Melbourne. Under scholarship, she graduated in 2006 where she was included on the Dean's Honour list three times and awarded the Nell Norris Prize and the Robert Barber prize for achievement in the study of Architecture.

Performer: Amber McCartney is a contemporary dancer from Wollongong based in Melbourne. She graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts with a Bachelor of Dance (Performance) in 2012 and was awarded the Orloff Family Charitable Trust Scholarship for Most Outstanding Dancer. She has worked with James in many projects including Inwonderland, Ersatz, Refuse Room and now Island.

Performer: Bicky Lee is originally from New Zealand and is now based in Melbourne after graduating from the Victorian College of the Arts with the 2012 Friends of the VCA Encouragement Scholarship. She has worked with James in Ersatz and now Island.

Sound Designer: Morgan Hickinbotham is a visual and sonic artist, producing work in the fields of music composition, photography, video art and film. He gaduated from the Victorian College of the Arts in 2012 with a bachelor of Fine Arts, majoring in Photography. He has worked with James on compostions for Ersatz, Cinders and now Island.



11 June - 8pm
12 June - 8pm
13 June - 8pm
14 June - 2pm & 8pm
15 June - 2pm & 6pm
Run time:

Sylvia Staehli Theatre
Please note this is a non-seated performance. Chairs can be provided for those who require them.
Cost: $10 - $25
click here

Image credit: Lorna Sim

Learn more about the Dancehouse Housemate residencies here

This work is supported by the ACT government through Arts ACT, Dancehouse, The Victorian Government through the VCA Graduate Mentors Scholarship, The Canberra Theatre Centre and QL2 Dance.