Meet a sea-full of loveable characters (and villains): Manta and Ray, Slinky the shark, clown fish, Minkie whales, and a devious Crown of Thorns starfish called Priscilla!

Using dance, theatre, and some amazing costumes, audiences learn how all life on the reef is interrelated. If a single organism or species is affected or declines in number it can have a huge ripple effect both down and up the Great Barrier Reef’s food chain.

To a soundtrack of popular songs and original music, Reef UP! highlights the beauty and precarious nature of the reef ecosystems across the globe, and helps students explore the simple things that they can do to help preserve these breathtaking environments.

Australia is taking the lead in collaborative scientific and arts research, and this will be acclaimed choreographer Liz Lea’s third joint venture after the success of Flying Facts (a theatrical exploration of the history and science of flight) and Star Struck (a dance-based response to astronomy and the science of the Big Bang).

Venue Format
Theatre, Hall, Black Box Venue, Outdoor
Technical Rating
D, The production can be modified to suit most venues
Touring Party
3 dancer/actors

We are very self sufficient. If we can use film indoors and have lighting that is great. The message, however, is still conveyed in an open space for children and their families. No adult content but reference to popular culture for adults to enjoy and engage with e.g., Hollywood, music choices.

Liz Lea is a performer, choreographer and producer based in NSW and Canberra after 20 years in Europe, touring internationally. Her speciality is working with classical Indian dance and martial arts. She has worked with Ranjabati Sircar, Mavin Khoo, the Royal Opera House and English Bach Festival and been commissioned in India, UK, Australia, South Africa, Singapore and USA.

Under her company, Liz Lea Dance, she has created and toured a dozen shows including '120 Birds', 'Magnificus Magnificus' inspired by the red tailed black cockatoo for Indigenous dancer Tammi Gissell and 'Kapture', inspired by the South African freedom fighter, Ahmed Kathrada.

Named as the 2017 ACT City News Artist of the Year Liz was also awarded a 2017 Australian Dance Award for her direction of Great Sport! for Canberra Dance Theatre.

Liz creates children's shows inspired by science and in 2017 she toured Reef UP! to 40 venues nationally. She also runs two Festivals - BOLD, celebrating the legacy of dance and DANscienCE where dance and science meet. DANscienCE; Moving Well ran on the 2nd June 2018, presented by FORM Dance Projects and Riverside Theatres.

Most recently she premiered her new one woman show, RED, to critical acclaim and is touring through 2020.

Company Website

Unique Selling Point

Popular songs, crazy costumes, loveable characters and engaging information - bringing science to young audiences, empowering them with ways they can help the environment. The work appeals to adults as well - "Although designed for a young audience, to deliver an environmental message about the degradation of the ocean and most particularly, the Great Barrier Reef, “Reef UP!” proved so entertaining that the adults in the audience quickly found themselves swept up in the atmosphere, unselfconsciously competing with their young charges to provide the answers for the environmentally focussed questions scattered among the dizzy succession of songs, dances and costume changes"

Marketing Materials

Materials available include:

  • education pack
  • activity pack
  • video promo
  • images



QMF information

Community Engagement

Reef UP! is all about engaging with young people to teach them about the world oceans, the animals that live in the ocean and they way everything is interconnected. Our current tour of 35 primary schools in Queensland is proving that we are leaving a message of excitement about the inhabitants of the reef - using Nemo and Dory as a starting point. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Children are writing to us, sending pictures and actually following through on what they are being taught in school and then by the show.