Photo: James Henry.

Photo: James Henry.

Photo: Bryony Jackson

Photo: Bryony Jackson

Photo: Bryony Jackson

Photo: Bryony Jackson

Photo: Bryony Jackson

Photo: Bryony Jackson

Photo: Bryony Jackson

Photo: Bryony Jackson

Photo: Bryony Jackson

Photo: Bryony Jackson

Joel has daddy issues.

And his insatiable cravings for father figures always leave him wanting more.

Don’t tell his dentist, but Joel Bray’s cravings are getting out of hand. He’s looking to live the sweet life, yet the sugar hits of nostalgia and fantasy are all too short-lived, and behind it all there’s a need that can never be sated.

Daddy is the latest work from one of the most electric new figures in Australian dance. Here he probes one of the paradoxes of our age: when so much is on offer, why are we left so hungry?

From the sugar-coated idyll of childhood reminiscence to the glazed excesses of queer adulthood, Joel’s story proves that a sweet tooth is a dangerous thing. Short-lived highs give way to the inevitable comedowns before the cycle begins all over again. And like a kid in a candy store, an imperial hunger for Aboriginal Australia consumes all it encounters – land, women and children – like fistfuls of sugar.

Hilarious, provocative and heartfelt, this world premiere tickles the nerve endings of desire while prodding the cavities left by colonisation. Featuring Joel Bray’s trademark confection of conversation, dance and all-you-can-eat audience participation, Daddy is a sweet feast with a deadly aftertaste.

Creator, Choreographer, Performer Joel Bray / Composition & Sound Design Naretha Williams / Lighting Design Katie Sfetkidis / Set & Costume Design James Lew / Collaborating Director Stephen Nicolazzo / Collaborating Choreographer Niharika Senapati / Dramaturgy SJ Norman / Audio Technical Support Daniel Nixon / / Lighting Associate Nicholas Moloney / Piano Niv Marinberg / Voices Josh Price, Jason Tamiru / Technical & Stage Manager Cecily Rabey / Producer Josh Wright

Hero Image by James Henry. Photography by Bryony Jackson.

Daddy demonstrated that we are indeed living in a blak queer cultural renaissance. And while there are struggles yet to come, unique perspectives are finally being celebrated.
— Timah Ball, ABC Arts
And carefully, gently, with a mixture of irresistible humour and breathtaking, desolating honesty, he brings his audience with him into this central trauma of his life. It’s a trauma that opens infinitely, because it’s at once deeply personal and part of much larger colonial histories. But the truth is that history is always personal.
— Alison Croggon, Witness Performance

Daddy premiered Wed 8 – Sun 12 May, 2019
Arts House as part of Yirramboi Festival

Daddy was commissioned by the City of Melbourne through Arts House, YIRRAMBOI Festival, and the Arts Grants Program; and by Performance Space, Sydney. It was developed for YIRRAMBOI’s KIN Commissions and the Liveworks Festival 2019.


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Joel Bray is black. Well, he’s white, but black. Y’know? He’s trapped in a hotel room somewhere in Melbourne and you, the audience, are trapped with him. Pull on a bathrobe and share a uniquely immersive and intimate encounter with Bray in the hilarious and revelatory Biladurang.

In this nowhere place Bray takes a pause, looks over his shoulder and takes a good look at his life, asking: ‘Is this where I am supposed to be? Is this who I am supposed to be? What is all this? The drugs? The sex? The cigarettes?’

Biladurang is loosely based on the traditional story of the platypus. It’s a story Bray grew up hearing, identifying with this mutant offspring who doesn’t seem to belong and finds himself roaming in search of a home. This award-winning confessional solo is physical, tender, funny and dark. It’s the perfect dance-theatre one-night stand.

Warnings: Nudity, adult concepts and coarse language. Ages 18+

Creator & Performer / Joel Bray
Dramaturge / Daniel Santangeli
Music / Kate Carr
Producer /Josh Wright

Photos: Pippa Samaya

A fraught, voyeuristic intention that is difficult to watch, but impossible to turn away from
— Stage Whispers
Provocatively candid and engaging.
— Dance Australia

Biladurang was first presented at Melbourne Fringe 2018 with support from Melbourne Fringe, CHUNKY MOVE, Arts House, Ilbijerri and the Wilin Centre. Following a sell-out season the work won three Fringe Awards including Best Performance.


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Dharawungara by Joel Bray (Complexity of Belonging) is a collision of rituals. Following his successful work Biladurang, the audience is invited to reimagine the theatre as a ceremonial ground of light and sound, as Joel explores how to breathe life into this Wiradjuri rite he has only ever read about. Naretha Williams joins Bray onstage as songwoman, and her driving beats conjure the space around us. Together they create a site of intersection between his ancestral ceremonial practice, our collective imagination and the realities of colonization.

Concept, Direction & Choreography Joel Bray
Performer Joel Bray
Lighting Design Amelia Lever-Davison
Sound Artist Naretha Williams
Costume Kate Davis

Photos by Pippa Samaya

9 November – 17 November 2018
Chunky Move, Melbourne



The Age/ Sydney Morning Herald


It’s this raw mix of Aboriginal identity with European-influenced contemporary performance art that makes Dharawungara, in all its complexity, something unique. Serious subject, peppered with humour, Dharawungara has a lot to chew on …

Herald Sun


When he begins the dance, the shift is remarkable: we watch as the elements Bray has casually put together are transformed into dance of urgency and beauty, as he himself begins to embody the spirit of transformation, of crossing the threshold into another state of being. There’s no pretence to “authenticity” here: what we are watching is not only a process of reclamation, but an act of creation.

— Witness Performance



Augury (2015)



  • a sign of what will happen in the future; an omen.

"they heard the sound as an augury of death"

  • the interpretation of omens.

Created as Artist-in-Residence at the NAISDA Dance College, the work is a highly athletic exploration of the ongoing power of birds as bearers of news amongst contemporary Indigenous Australian peoples.