Enter the ethereal technicolour world of Polytoxic, where the traditions of the Pacific collide with the whims of pop culture.

“a powerful visual experience” (On the Fourth Floor, Toronto)

The sun has set and across the shimmery water two majestic figures serenely move. This is Trade Winds, an evocative performance installation depicting the journey of two women from different cultures.

This stunning collaboration between the innovative and imaginative team from dance-theatre company Polytoxic, and one of Australia’s most exciting contemporary Pacific visual artists, Samuel Tupou, is a magical event for the whole family. Two performers literally dance on the water and as they move they become giant screens illuminated by a world of exquisite animated projections.

Trade Winds has been presented at Planet IndigenUs Festival (Harbourfront Centre, Toronto); OnEdge Festival (Cairns); Darwin Festival, Bleach Festival (Gold Coast); Desert Fringe (Port Augusta); Joondalup Festival (Perth), and APAM Brisbane.

Venue Format
Technical Rating
C, The production can be modified to suit most venues
Touring Party

DATA PROJECTOR: minimum 10,000 lumens projector is required. Please see technical specifications for more details. Polytoxic can source and tour with data projector at an additional cost (estimate $3000-$5000 per week subject to touring requirements) // SCHEDULING: Performance needs to be scheduled at least 1 hour after sunset // SITES: Ideal for man-made ponds and shallow water locations, min. 12m2, up to 50cm deep (e.g. fountains, swimming lagoons). The performance can also be performed on level grassy surfaces such as an outdoor park or oval.

“Polytoxic is a formidable, innovative company worth watching.” Real Time

POLYTOXIC is an Australian collective led by two feminist performance-makers at the top of their game: Lisa Fa’alafi (Hot Brown Honey) & Leah Shelton (Terror Australis). Together as Polytoxic, they create hyper-visual, pop-inspired performance work built upon foundations of diversity, collaboration and intersectionality.

Since 2000, Polytoxic’s work has been presented in traditional huts, indie theatre seasons, dusty big-tops and major festivals including PS122’s COIL Festival New York, Harbourfront Centre Canada, WanSmolbag Vanuatu, Sydney Opera House, Darwin Festival, Brisbane Festival, Perth Fringe World, Bleach Festival, Enlighten, ArtsHouse Melbourne.

Polytoxic’s works include the live-art karaoke party experience THE BACKUP SERVICE, mongrel tiki-circus show THE RAT TRAP (co-presented with QTC), and rose-tinted travelogue TEUILA POSTCARDS. Their stunning watertop projection work TRADE WINDS premiered at Harbourfront Centre, 2012 and has since played to audiences of up to 1500 people at a time in outdoor festivals around the world. PRIVACY SETTINGS saw the company collaborate with design gurus Craig & Karl in a commission for Festival 2018 for Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. In 2019, Polytoxic Co-Directed the immersive DALI AFTER DARK, a site-specific theatrical extravaganza set amongst the original works of Salvador Dali in a takeover of Perth’s Metro City nightclub.

Company Website

Unique Selling Point

Trade Winds is a work that has captivated audiences around the globe. The work is about connection and cultural exchange, and audiences are offered the opportunity to both participate in an exchange through our 'message boats' installation; and to witness cultural exchange through performance.

Audience appeal is broad:- Pacific Islanders are drawn to the Polynesian patterning and island references; families and children are attracted to the magical world and accessible aesthetic; and arts-lovers enjoy the visual arts component of the work. Trade Winds also appeals to those interested in contemporary cross-cultural art practices; and lovers of dance/ theatre / multimedia works.

Marketing Materials

The show has toured extensively and we have a range of marketing collateral available:

  • marketing copy to suit various contexts
  • high resolution images
  • performance trailer

Community Engagement

Alongside the performance installation, we can offer the following optional community engagement activities:

MESSAGE BOATS: A workshop station for people to make their own origami “message-boat” to be displayed as part of the installation. Decorate your boat or write a message for others to discover. Suitable for young and old alike! Polytoxic will provide instructions and materials; Presenter to provide facilitator/s. Workshops will be subject to social distancing regulations.

SCHOOL WORKSHOPS: Origami boat-folding community workshops may be carried out in weeks prior to the performance.
Polytoxic will provide instructions and materials to be sent to local schools; Presenter to liaise with schools and facilitate as required.