By eXcelsior

On the Shoulders of Giants explores the transition and adaptation of culture, toxic masculinity and intergenerational trauma of First Nations men navigating their way through everyday life.

Anchored in body based storytelling, eXcelsior is an intra-cultural Queensland Indigenous dance collective made up of proud Murri, Koori and Torres Strait Islander artists connected to Brisbane. They use art forms including cultural and contemporary dance, physical theatre and poetry, to express their intergenerational experiences.



Benjamin Creek – Artist

Leonard Donahue – Artist

Manduway Dutton – Artist

Benjin Maza – Artist

Joshua Thaiday – Artist

Tibian Wyles – Artist

BlakDance – Producer


Metro Arts, West End

Image by Jo-Anne Driessens



Leonard Donahue
Leonard Donahue is a descendant from the Djabugay people of the rainforest in far-north Queensland. Leonard has pursued a career focused on Indigenous tourism and the arts. Following high school, Leonard moved to Brisbane to study at the Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts and has since worked professionally in the industry in theatre, film and television, storytelling, music and dance. It was at ACPA Leonard met fellow eXcelsior crew and has since performed with them at the Sydney Opera House, festivals around Australia and at Festival 2018 in the Commonwealth Games. In addition to his role as Senior Indigenous Officer at Dreamworld Corroboree, Leonard travels the country providing song, dance, poetry and story experiences to schools and communities.

Tibian Wyles
Tibian is Girramay & Kalkadoon tribes descendent from North Queensland. He is a graduate of The Aboriginal Centre for Performing Arts (ACPA) in Brisbane. He appeared in Black Diggers (Sydney Festival, Brisbane Festival) as well as appearing in several ACPA productions including: Oedipus the King, Romeo & Juliet, & Spirit Of the Lore. He is an Ambassador for DigiYouth Arts, and worked with Indigenous students to present the play Glad Tomorrow. More recently Tibian appeared in Legs on the Wall’s production ‘The Man with the Iron Neck’ written by Ursula Yovich which premiered at Brisbane Festival 2018 then toured major festivals around the country in 2019, Sydney Festival, Darwin Festival and Adelaide Festival. His dance appearances include Baru (Sydney Opera House), Clancestry (Byron Bay Blues Festival); Treaty (Brisbane Festival) and Backwards (Queensland Poetry Festival); Festival 2018 in the Commonwealth Games. Outside of eXcelsior Tibian toured as a dancer with DJUKI MALA to Lebanon, Egypt and across Europe.

Joshua Thaiday
Born and raised in Cairns and of Torres Strait Islander heritage, Joshua is one of The 2015 Yumpla Project team members at Phunktional Ltd. With a Diploma in Performing Arts, he is currently undertaking an Advanced Diploma in Acting at the Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts. Joshua has had numerous roles in the Queensland 150th Anniversary, in ‘Soul Music’, ‘Souls Entwined’ and ‘Up the Ladder’, all performed at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre. Onscreen performances include appearances in the Queensland Government Advertisement for HIV Awareness, the ‘Talking Families’ Queensland Government Advertisement, and as an extra in the television series ‘The Straits’. Joshua is a skilled dancer and talented actor, evident in his comprehensive background participating in community events such as the 2012 Brisbane Festival, the Indigenous Festival ‘Clancestry’, the 2015 Acting Showcase, NAIDOC Week dance events, the Asia World Cap Draw, Festival 2018 in the Commonwealth Games.

Benjamin Creek
Benjamin is a founding member of eXcelsior, dancer/actor and graduate of Aboriginal Centre for Performing Arts (ACPA) in Brisbane with a major in Acting. Benjamin also writes and performs poetry for the collective and has performed at Festival 2018 in the Commonwealth Games and Sydney Opera House and Boomerang Festival in association with Byron Bay Blues Fest. He continues his traditional dance practices with his community dance group who have also performed at Dance Rites competition.  

Benjin Maza
Benjin Maza is a Brisbane based singer/songwriter, dancer and actor. In 2012 he toured with Queensland Theatre’s production ‘Stradbroke Dreamtime’ directed by Sue Rider, covering regional Queensland. Benjin debuted at La Boîte Theatre Company with Steven Oliver’s ‘From Darkness’ as a part of Brisbane Festival 2019. Benjin has also been a part of numerous creative develop- ments in musical theatre, theatre and dance at venues such as QPAC, Laboite Theatre and more. Benjin is also a part of an Indigenous Fusion dance group called ‘eXcelsior’, performing at various events such as; the NRL’s All Stars, Sydney Opera House’s ‘Homeground’, Woodford Folk Festival and Boomerang Festival at Byron Bay Blues Fest and the Commonwealth Games in 2018. Benjin joined forces with artist, ‘Alinta’ to birth ‘Balairi’ – performing original music and covers at community and corporate events. Benjin’s most recent work has been with Karul Projects as a part of  ‘Silence’, debuting Brisbane Festival 2020.

Manduway Dutton
Manduway completed an Advanced Diploma in the Performing Arts at the Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts in Brisbane studying piano, songwriting and recording technology in 2014. In 2016, he went on to complete a Bachelor of Music degree (specialisation jazz and pop) at the Central Queensland Conservatorium of music where he majored on the piano. He has performed at the Boomerang Festival in 2017


eXcelsior’s On the Shoulders of Giants has received financial assistance from the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland, the Backing Indigenous Arts initiative and the BlakDance Residency Program.




By Sandro Colarelli

How did it come to this…Dad, standing in a police station on the border of NSW and QLD, reporting his 89 year old brother as a missing person?

When he’d left his home in the mountains of Chieti, Abbruzzo all those years ago he never imagined that the devastation his village suffered during WW11 would follow him all the way to a glittering new life on the glorious Cold Ghost.  Strange after all, that the “paradise” he found could turn into l’inferno before you could blink your eyes three times…

Cold Ghost is an expedition through time, where familial tapestries reveal patterns upon patterns. Can the tightly-woven fabric of our blood-land connections be unstiched to free us from the ransom of our own identities?



Sandro Colarelli – Creator


Metro Arts, West End


Sandro Colarelli

Sandro is an award winning Australian actor, singer and contemporary performance maker. He has received a Matilda Award for his roles in The Odyssey for Zen Zen Zo/QPAC and The Venetian Twins for Queensland Theatre Company for which he also received a Helpmann Award Nomination. 

Sandro has been a performer and co-creator of a number of works including The Lady of the House of Love (Brisbane Festival/Queensland Music Festival & Metro Arts), Tom Waits for No Man, Vive Jacques Brel, A-Z of Cabaret (Brisbane Cabaret Festival/ Queensland Arts Council/ ArTour/ NORPA) and Xcess Baggage (Belvoir St/La Boite).

Other Opera, Musical Theatre and Cabaret performances include: Twelfth Night, The Venetian Twins (Queensland Theatre Company), Sound of a Finished Kiss (Now Look Here/Electric Moon), Red Cap (La Boite/Queensland Music Festival), DragQueensLand (Queensland Music Festival), The Adventures of Figaro (Opera Queensland), Cabaret (ZenZen Zo/QPAC), Boadecia – the Rock Opera (Queensland Folk Federation), Floodland (Electric Moon), The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust (Electric Moon/Melbourne Cabaret Festival/Queensland Cabaret Festival/MELT Festival – Brisbane Powerhouse), Transformer (Queensland Cabaret Festival – QPAC/Wonderland – Brisbane Powerhouse), The Warm Room, Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Electric Moon/Brisbane Powerhouse), Blacklight Series (Electric Moon),The Seven Seas (The Good Ship/Brisbane Powerhouse) and 1975 (Canto Coro).

Other Theatre performance include: Hotelling (Bleach Festival*), The Alchemist (Bell Shakespeare Company/Queensland Theatre Company), Seeding Bed, A Christmas Carol, The Venetian Twins, Shopping And F***ing, Summer Rain, Oz Shorts, MODD 2000 – The Dream (Queensland Theatre Company), Eight, Shoot-Get Treasure-Repeat (Queensland Theatre Company – Seeding Bed), Dr Akar’s Women (Griffin), The Narcissist (Sydney Theatre Company/La Boite/Merrigong Theatre Company); Emma Celebrazione!, Milk And Honey, Freedom Ride, Scattered Lives (La Boite), A Beautiful Life (Matrix/La Boite/Brisbane Festival/ Performing Lines National Tour), The Odyssey (ZenZenZo/QPAC), Vikram and the Vampire (ZenZenZo), 1347 and King and the Corpse (Matrix/Brisbane Festival), My Love Has a Black Speed Stripe (Fractal), Till Death Do Us Part (Brisbane Festival/Brides of Frank), Cribbie, Twelfth Night and Julius Caesar (4MBS), Mercy Thieves (Jo&Co/Dennehy Productions), Scattered Lives (TheCoalface) as well as many other independent productions. He has also been part of the performance ensembles for the Queensland Premier’s Drama Awards and The Works (Queensland Theatre Company) and the National Play Festival (Playwrighting Australia).

Sandro’s film and television credits include: Space Chicken in Space, The End, Family Law, Hoges, Secrets and Lies, DevsDating, The Keys, Welcome to the Lucky Country, The Strip, Mortified, Black Fury, Gettin’ Squared, Cybergirl, Inspector Gadget II, Hobson’s Choice, Solutions at Hand, Big Date, Superb Satans, Gino and Time Trax.

Sandro’s directing credits include As You Like It (4mbs Classics Festival), Mind Games (Edinburgh Fringe/Metro Arts/Butterfly Club), The Kid, X-Stacey and Visions (QUT) and Postcards (USQ).