BLEACH* The Spirit of Churaki

Commissioned and produced by Bleach* Festival, Presented By Festival 2018

An epic music production inspired by the story of Churaki; an Aboriginal man heralded as the Gold Coast’s first surf lifesaver.

Churaki, a Goodjingburra man, performed the first documented act of lifesaving on the Gold Coast in 1911. This was one of many daring rescues he carried out in the early 1900’s as the surf bathing craze took hold. A heroic story, largely unknown, The Spirit of Churaki honours a rich lineage of saltwater people, a spirit of generosity, a deep connection to country and cultural obligation.

Starring an extraordinary line up of legendary Australian musicians under the musical direction of Brian Ritchie (Violent Femmes) and cultural collaborator Kyle Slabb (Banaam) with evocative visuals by renowned artist Vernon Ah Kee, this production is a musical collaboration united by the spirit of the surf.

Presented as a full night of entertainment, The Spirit of Churaki rides the perfect wave between traditional ceremony, the ancient sounds of Aboriginal language and compelling music theatre, closing with a cyclonic set by Australian surf rock legends, The Break.


Lead Artistic Collaborator & Cultural Advisor: Kyle Slabb
Musical Director: Brian Ritchie
Visual Artist: Vernon Ah Kee
Dramaturg and Rehearsal Director: Rhoda Roberts AO
Writer and Researcher: Tim Baker
Sound Design: Lawrence English
Costume Design: Libby McDonnell
Lighting Designer: Dan Black
Photography and Film: Claudio Kirac


Brian Ritchie, Colin Usher, Fred Leone, Greg Sheehan, Josh Slabb,
Jarulah Slabb, Kaleb Slabb, Kyle Slabb, Leah Flanagan,
Sam Pankhurst, Veronique Serret

The Break

Starring Rob Hirst, Jim Moginie, Martin Rotsey
(Midnight Oil), and Jack Howard (Hunters & Collectors)
Brian Ritchie (Violent Femmes).


7:00pm – 11:00pm

7:00pm – Ceremony

8:00pm – The Spirit of Churaki Concert

9:15pm – The Break



12 April 2018


Festival 2018 Main Stage Surfers Paradise Beach
Surfers Paradise Beach