Flow-state in Noongar performance

Author Identifier

Kyle Morrison


Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Master of Arts (Performing Arts)


Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)

First Supervisor

Jonathon Marshall

Second Supervisor

Clint Bracknell


This study constitutes the first investigation of Flow-state – an enhanced or transcendent state of performance, focus and/or creativity – within urban Indigenous peoples, let alone Noongar of the southwest of Australia. This investigation expands existing understandings of Flow and its potential application. Methods employed include a case study survey using the Flow State Survey model 2, together with yarning, autoethnography, participant-observation, and Practice As Research. Criteria derived from Flow theory underwrite these methods. Six core Noongar performance works acted as case studies, which are included as Creative Research Outputs making up part of the formal thesis submission. These includes video of the researcher recreating six classical/traditional Noongar dances (2022), the Sonnets in Noongar project (2012-13), the Perth Festival Day of Ideas performance (2020), Yirra Yaakin’s production Hecate (2020), and the multi-arts Perth Festival event Noongar Wonderland (2022). These outputs and analyses demonstrate that something like Flow-state exists within Noongar performance. By supportively coming together and sharing challenges and thoughts, Noongar men can exchange and support experiences of Flow-state in dance, helping to understand, unpack, and describe this to each other. Flow-state is supported by a sense of collective purpose, and responsibility to Country and culture. Flow-state in Noongar performance is wholistic and multi-faceted, supported by story, song, music, dance, childhood experiences, relations with boodjar, relations with animals, ancestors, and communities. In short, Flow in Noongar life and performance is self-reinforcing. If one experiences it, this helps produce the confidence and competency to enact it again. Public showings, especially to Elders and community, can both hinder and support Flow. This can produce anxiety, but when interlocking factors successfully combine to enable Flow, it is truly wonderful and affirming, both for performers and audiences.



Access Note

Access to this thesis is embargoed until 15th January 2028.

Access to this thesis is restricted. Please see the Access Note below for access details.