Bakkhai [2017 – 2019]
Euripides’ 2500-year-old tragedy tells the legend of the Bakkhai, a group of wild and strange women accompanying Dionysos, the god of wine, as he returns to his birthplace, bearing a grudge and heralding change. Pentheos, ruler of Thebes, is determined to resist Dionysos, but isn’t prepared for the Bakkhai, a cult of wild strange women that accompany their god.
Vahri McKenzie led a creative team of locals who reimagined the legend in the South West. This collaboration created a body of work including costumes, masks, sculpture, painting and animations. A community ensemble of performers brought to life the original text, music and choreography commissioned for the show.
‘Voices to Dionysos’: Sarah Neale, Andrew Robinson, Sky River, Butterfly Hall, Chrissy Maddison, Kelly Mitchell and Luke Myors (L-R), in Bakkhai by Vahri McKenzie at BREC, Bunbury; June, 2018. Photograph by Sarah Mills.
‘Change is coming’: Kelly Mitchell, Luke Myors, Chrissy Maddison, Sarah Neale, Sky River and Butterfly Hall (L-R), in Bakkhai by Vahri McKenzie at BREC, Bunbury; June, 2018. Photograph by Sarah Mills.
‘Heedless and Bestial’: Sarah Neale, Chrissy Maddison, Michelle Aslett, Siobhan Maiden, Millie Kitchener, Kelly Mitchell, Kathy Boxall and Luke Myors (L-R), in Bakkhai by Vahri McKenzie at BREC, Bunbury; June, 2018. Photograph by Sarah Mills.
Bakkhai: Freedom and Control is an exhibition of work developed for BREC’s 2018 stage show, seen here in a gallery context that illustrates the collective creativity of the artists. Curated by Vahri McKenzie, it includes costumes and masks by Sky River, sculpted thyrsoi and animations by Dan Rooney, soundscapes by Rachelle Rechichi and photography by Sarah Mills.
Vahri McKenzie’s Bakkhai, BREC publicity poster. Photograph by Sarah Mills.
- Xan Ashbury (19 July 2018). Artisanal and delicious, Seesaw Magazine.
- Bakkhai on Facebook
- Post show talk with director and creative team, 16 June 2018.
- Emily Ace (15 June 2018). Tragic tale of revenge given SW twist, The West Australian.
- Thomas Munday (12 June 2018). Bakkhai set to provide thrills, Bunbury Mail.
- ECU (28 May 2018). SAH news and events Bakkhai.
- Bunbury Mail (7 May 2018). Bakkhai rally at BREC.
- Bunbury Mail (16 August 2017). New funding support for Bunbury theatre.
This project was supported by:
- The State Government’s Royalties for Regions Program administered by the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC) Culture and the Arts (WA) in consultation with the Department of Regional Development.
- Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre
- Edith Cowan University
- Maker + Co
- McKenzie, V. & Boxall, K. (2021): ‘Come all savage creatures’: Becoming Bakkhai in the south west of Western Australia. In A. Harris & S. Holman Jones (eds.), Affective Movements, Methods and Pedagogies (pp. 142-157). Abingdon, UK: Routledge.