Shadowland, the ground-breaking new performance by internationally acclaimed dance troupe Pilobolus, is best described as part shadow act, part dance, part circus and part concert. Shadowland incorporates multiple moving screens of different sizes and shapes to create an evening-length performance that merges projected images and front-of-screen choreography.

The story is a surreal experience of a young girl’s sensational world as she comes of age. Created in collaboration with lead writer for the popular animated series SpongeBob SquarePants, Steven Banks, Shadowland is a universal and intimately portrayed experience that is both intensely dramatic and comedic. It is set to a rhythmic original score by the popular American musician, producer, and film composer David Poe, whose poetic work for Shadowland ranges from ballads to hard-driving rock numbers.

The finale sequence of Shadowland was performed today by Pilobolus at the State Theatre at Melbourne's Art Centre ahead of their Australian premiere later in the evening. Afterwards, I caught up with Pilobolus performer Lauren Yalango to talk about this extraordinary piece of theatrical work.

Yalango has been with the company since 2008 and was involved in the development of Shadowland. She first started dancing from the age of three, taking tap and jazz classes before moving to classical ballet and ultimately completing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance. What Yalango loves about the company is the work is collaborative. Unlike other shows where dancers are simply told where to move by the choreographer, Pilobolus allows all company members to contribute to the development of the piece, As a result, Yalango feels the company members are very invested into the work.

The entire show is filmed and played on two screens stage left and stage right for the cast to be able to see as they are often quite “blind” during the actual performance. As for the physicality of the performance, Yalango says the moves they make and shapes they have to create could best be described as “bad yoga!” She said there's a lot of stretching and strange positioning but they know how to take care of themselves when touring.

Shadowland originally took nine months to develop and has now been performed hundreds of times around the world. While the entire show is quite amazing, there is something unique and special about the finale. Yalango explains the finale is adapted to suit each city. Pilobolus has a finale director who researches the features of the city, then liaises with the promoter to ensure that what is presented represents the most iconic and instantly recognisable features. During the media call there were gasps of delight and applause as some uniquely Australian and Melbourne features appeared on stage. Yalango said this is the best part – when the cast can hear the audience reaction to a particular scene and they know the audience have “got it.”

Critics around the world have applauded Shadowland and now Australia has the opportunity to see this ground-breaking theatrical work. Shadowland is now playing at the Arts Centre, Melbourne, till Sunday 1st June before touring to New Zealand then other parts of Australia.


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National Tour Dates

Arts Centre Melbourne, State Theatre
Dates & times: Wed 28 May at 7:30pm, Thurs 29 May at 7:30pm, Fri 30 May at 7:30pm, Sat 31 May at 2pm and 7:30pm, Sun 1 June at 2pm and 7:30pm
Tickets: $54.90 – $99.90
Bookings: or 1300 182 183

Auckland, New Zealand
The Civic Theatre, Auckland
Dates &Times: Tuesday 3 June – Sunday, 8 June 

The Playhouse, Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC)
Dates: Tue 10 June at 7.30pm, Wed 11 June at 7.30pm, Thurs 12 June at 7.30pm, Fri 13 June at 7.30pm, Sat 14 June at 1.30pm and 7.30pm, Sun 15 June at 1pm and 6pm.
Tickets: $79.90 – $99.90
Bookings: or 136 246

The State Theatre
Dates & Times: Tue 17 June – Fri 20 June at 8pm
Tickets: $79.90- $98.90
Bookings: 136 100

The Canberra Theatre
Dates: Sat 21 June at 8pm & Sun 22 June at 1.30pm and 6.30pm
Tickets: $79.90- $98.90
Bookings: or (02) 6275 2700

The Regal Theatre
Dates & Times: Wed 25 June at 8pm, Thur 26 at 8pm, Fri 27 at 8pm, Sat 28 at 2pm & 8pm, Sun 29 at 1:30pm & 7pm, Tue 1 July at 8pm, Wed at 8pm, Thur 3 at 8pm, Fri 4 at 8pm, Sat 5 at 2pm & 8pm, Sun 6 at 1:30pm & 7:00pm
Tickets: $69.90 – $108.90
Bookings: or 132 849

Her Majesties Theatre
Dates: Wed 9 July at 7.30pm, Thurs 10 July at 7.30pm, Fri 11 July at 7.30pm, Sat 12 July at 2pm and 7.30pm
Tickets: $69.90 – $95.90
Bookings: or 131 246