The Blak Out program brings together countless indigenous voices

As we enter a year when Australians are likely to vote in a referendum on a constitutional First Nations vote in Parliament, Jacob Nash, the Sydney Festival’s first creative artist-in-residence, wants us to explore many Indigenous perspectives listen

As coordinator of the festival’s Blak Out programme, Head Designer at Bangarra Dance Theater and Daly River-Mann has gathered countless First Nations voices from across the country for the Sydney Festival 2023.

Jacob Nash, curator of the Sydney Festival's Blak Out program and producer of the Vigil event that will symbolically awaken Me-Mel (Goat Island).

Jacob Nash, curator of the Sydney Festival’s Blak Out program and producer of the Vigil event that will symbolically awaken Me-Mel (Goat Island).Credit:Stefan Siewert

There are heartbreak high Heartthrob Thomas Weatherall, the 22-year-old Kamilaroi author and actor, whose debut play Bluewritten while he was Balnaves Fellow at the Belvoir Theater and will be performed there from 14 January.

“Thomas’s voice has a magical quality – he wrote an amazing script about family and love,” said Nash.

There’s also Daniel Riley, whose story of his great-granduncle, famed Wiradjuri tracker Alec Riley, will have its world premiere at Carriageworks with the Australian Dance Theater show tracker (January 10-14).

ALWAYS sculpture by artist Jacob Nash in 2019.

ALWAYS sculpture by artist Jacob Nash in 2019.Credit:Dominik Lorrimer

Weaves dance, music and lyrics with an all-First Nations cast and set design by Indigenous artist Jonathan Jones. tracker tells the story of the Dubbo man, born in 1884, who joined the NSW Police in 1911 and became the first Indigenous sergeant in the state, helping to track down bushrangers and serial killers.

“Dan’s great-granduncle is one of those stories in our history that we should be talking about like Bennelong’s was,” Nash said. “It’s a mixture of dance and storytelling.”

Then there’s the distinctive voice of actress/singer/songwriter Elaine Crombie, who starred in last year’s Bangarra hit Wudjang: Not the past. This year she delivers Janet’s vagrant love at the Belvoir St Theater with her original songs about a single mother raising boys. “This is an opportunity to sit down and hear her story,” Nash said of the Pitjantjatjara woman.

https://www.smh.com.au/culture/theatre/all-of-our-voices-not-just-one-voice-jacob-nash-on-why-we-must-listen-20221230-p5c9it.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_culture The Blak Out program brings together countless indigenous voices

Jaclyn Diaz

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