They say that 2015 and 2016 were the deadliest years for migrants and refugees crossing the Mediterranean to reach Europe. In 2014 the Malacca Straits became the favoured route for boat people to reach Australia. Thousands have died at sea. A headless child’s body cannot be identified and her tombstone bears no name on the Island of Lesvos. Ordinary people languish in refugee camps and in Australia’s offshore detention centres. Entry denied… but the stage is also a country with its own rules and regulations or lack of them.

Grand DiVisions is storytelling and music of overwhelming vitality.  It is a work about falling in and out of love with Australia, two uncompromising refugees that made it to the other side and a cohort of outsiders that challenge the status quo in a world that negates their humanity and freedom.

Balletic and symphonic in concept and communal in execution, Grand DiVisions features a dynamic hip hop harp concerto, a string orchestra, a solo harpist, virtuosic beat boxing, Indian tabla, darabuka, gospel hip‐hop, classical vocalists, contemporary dancers, rappers, spoken word artists and story tellers who strive to make sense of the grand divisions that continue to haunt and enchant us.


Director Irine Vela, Musical Director, Conductor Mary Johnston, Black Grace Choreographer of SubUrban Hip Hop Harp Concerto Neil Ieremia, Lighting Designer Gina Gascoigne, Sound Design Siiri Metsar , Script Consultant Maryanne Lynch, Costume Design Adrienne Chisholm. Rappers, Vocalists, Musicians and Dancers Victoria Canning, Angela Baklis, Kevin Nugara | Spitfire , Mahmoud Samoun | Babz , Milad Norouzi, Joanne Kaisila, Ileini Kabalan, Ruci Kaisila, Philip Pandongan, Ta Tupou, Fakaoho Tupou, August Sokan, Sam Tenneh, Menliday Gbiadiah, Dante Sofra, Ez Eldin Deng, Mary Quinsacara, Paul Mileson, Josephine Pelman, Geskeva Komba, Rudy V, Joash Tuugamusu, Ruby Ala’i,

Natalia Mann (Soloist Harp), Mark Grunden (Percussion), Bikram Malhar (Vocalist), Tabla Lisa-Marie Parker (Soprano), Jeannie Marsh (Alto), Eugenie Lyons (Viola), Natasha Lakkis FMR. Hanna (Soloist Violin), Ellie Walker (Cello), Josef Hanna (Violin), Arun Patterson (Violin), Jackie Tinsley (Violin), Hannah Spracklan-Holl (Violin), Imelda Baligod (Violin), Josh Erdelyi-Gotz (Violin), Stephanie Domazet (Violin), Sam U (Violin), Vincy U (Violin), Emma Woo (Violin), Emily Witney (Violin), Dovi Hanner (Viola), Amerentia van Lammeren (Viola), Katie Ko (Viola), Holly Hayes (Viola), Monica Edwards (Cello), Luke Thijs (Viola), D’Artagnan Skenzic (Cello), James Abougelis (Cello), Ken Harris (Bass) and Daniel Zou (Bass).

Developed with support from Creative Australia, Creative Victoria, Newsboys Foundation, City of Melbourne, Kimberley Foundation, Robert Salzer Foundation, Hecand Family Foundation and Outer Urban Projects school and community partners.


“Grand DiVisions is much more than a pretty face. It has heart, depth and a power to move people in a way that few productions can…. Rinsed of narrative, political spin and hidden agendas, it became a human story once more – simple, gripping and unquestionably honest… Every story was important, and every story was waited for expectantly by a captive audience both on and off the stage… This was the multi-cultural contemporary Australia that we don’t see often enough of and we will no doubt be seeing more of, because Grand DiVisions is truly top class.”


"The audience for Grand DiVisions was the most various I have ever seen at the Art Centre. It was maybe the first time there that I felt that the composition of the audience and performance reflected the people I see on the streets of Melbourne. It’s a safe bet that many of them had never been in the Arts Centre before, and I can only hope it’s not the last.

Grand DiVisions... is an exhilarating glimpse of worlds and realities too often kept out of our plush temples of culture. The polished energy of 21 young singers, spoken word artists and dancers, backed by an orchestra, hits you right in the sternum."

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