Penny wishes to acknowledge the Ngunnawal people as the traditional custodians of the land involved in ‘Burnt Out’, the work mentioned in the footage.

Burnt Out is an urgent and timely dance-theatre work encapsulating one Australian’s experience of the devastating bushfires and the personal experience of the daughter of an environmental geochemist and premiers live in-person in Assembly Roxy this August. Using theatre, dance and a lump of coal this work takes us on a journey through our changing climate and asks why do we feel we are unable to acknowledge the changes around us even when surrounded by thick smoke.

Glasgow-based Penny Chivas draws on her own experience of the fires. Growing up in Australia, she experienced the Canberra fires of 2003, the blacked skies over Melbourne during Black Saturday 2009, and during a visit in 2019, Black Summer. Her experiences are contrasted with Australia’s reliance on coal – even using coal- powered electricity to “clean the air” during the fires. Paul Michael Henry’s soundscape captures the sounds from the fires; from choppers circling overhead, to the sirens used and perhaps most hauntingly, the calls of magpies mimicking the wail of fire engines. David Bowes’ lighting design proves a simple and yet incredibly detailed framework for reading the movement of Chivas as she arches and curls illuminating the immediacy to the situation. 

Chivas is a relentless dancer and tenacious spirit.” Penelope Ford, ArtsHub

Penny Chivas is a Glasgow-based dance artist and activist. Originally from Australia, she has been in Scotland 11 years and has performed for choreographers/companies such as Ian Spink, Vanessa Grasse, Brian Hartley and Scottish Opera. She is also a part-time Masters student at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. ‘Burnt Out’ has been supported by organisations across Scotland and Northern England including Tramway, Dance Base and Dance City.

Assembly Roxy has been designed from the ground up to ensure the safety of visitors and staff alike. Capacities in venues have been reduced to enable physical distancing measures to be put in place. All payments at the box office, food outlets and bars will be contactless to avoid unnecessary cash handling and there will be additional cleaning as well as hand sanitisation stations located throughout.


Instagram @pennyjchivas