Woman dancing

Burnt Out

Date 23-28 August 2022
Location Dance Base, Edinburgh

Burnt Out | Penny Chivas

Burnt Out is an urgent and timely dance-theatre work encapsulating one Australian’s experience of the devastating bushfires and the personal experience of as the daughter of an environmental geochemist. ‘Burnt Out’ returns to the Edinburgh Fringe after a sell-our run in 2021 this time to the home of dance, Dance Base. 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.

BURNT OUT from Alan Paterson on Vimeo.

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. The return of ‘Burnt Out’ builds upon the interest generated by the recent UK/Australia season ’21-’22, a programme of events celebrating artwork from these two countries.


★★★★ “a moving meditation on Australia’s attitude to the environment” The Stage


Aug 23-25 13:30 (45m)
Aug 26-28 13:30 (45m)
Signed performance (BSL) | Aug 27

About the Creatives

  • Originally from Australia (Ngunnawal Country), Penny Chivas (she/her) is a Glasgow based dance artist with a background in improvisation and multidisciplinary practices. As a performer she has worked with choreographers such as Ian Spink, Vanessa Grasse, Julia McGhee and Brian Hartley including both British and international touring. Most recently her concerns around the environment lead her to create ‘Burnt Out’, a solo dance theatre work based on her experiences of the devastating Australian bushfires which played to a sold-out week long season at the Edinburgh Fringe 2021 and will return in 2022. Penny has also guest taught across the UK and internationally. She is a graduate of WAAPA, VCA (Honours), and will graduate later this year from the Master in Education programme at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

    Paul Michael Henry is a Scottish performance artist, dancer and musician. His work is informed by Butoh dance, punk rock and ritual, and is performed all over the world. Recent projects include SHRIMP DANCE.

    Lighting Design
    Great Snakes AV (David Bowes) – Lighting Designer
    Professionally trained in Lighting Design and Technical theatre by some
    of Scotland’s most acclaimed designers. Once graduated I set to work
    sculpting my unique style at Lyra Theatre with Dewar Award winning
    director and founder of Lyra Jo Timmons,


  • Supported by: Tramway, Centre for Contemporary Art (Glasgow), The Work Room, Dance Base, Lyra, and Dance City

    Performance/choreography/text – Penny Chivas
    Music – Paul Michael Henry
    Lighting Design – Great Snakes (David Bowes)

    Photos by Brian Hartley