5 First Nations-Led Productions To See At Brisbane Festival 2021

Published in Arts  
'Weredingo' 'Weredingo' Image © Mick Richards

The First Nations programme at this year's Brisbane Festival celebrates Queensland and Australian talent across a range of genres.

Whether it's live music you're into, a bit of dance, or perhaps some visual art and fashion. . . There's events to suit everyone, including a few never before seen and ready to be premiered for Brisbane audiences!

The Indigenous Advisory Group, as well as Merindah Donnelly and Alethea Beetson, are behind the curation of this expansive offering.

“Critical to the spirit of Brisbane Festival is a programme where diverse voices have a platform to tell stories and share their culture in this grand celebration of connection and community,” Brisbane Festival Artistic Director Louise Bezzina says.

Here, the team at Brisbane Festival list five must-see First Nations-led productions at Brisbane Festival.


Weredingo. Come in, grab a biccy and a cuppa. All shapes and kinds are accepted here, this is a safe space and not your usual support group.Through Karul’s signature sharp movement, combined with text, song, and projections, they challenge what you think you know about shapeshifting. If you’re ready to join the support group, wear your animal loud and proud. Dress in your fur, fleece or feathers; your beaks, claws or tails. All animal outfits are welcome whether it be cloaks, coats, makeup, or masks. New Benner Theatre (Metro Arts), 3-11 September.

FN Fashion Pamela Pirovic
First Nations Fashion - Image © Pamela Pirovic


First Nations Fashion. Walking In Two Worlds. Bringing together a selection of contemporary garments and textiles by First Nations designers, multicultural Australian artist, Grace Lillian Lee, has created a literal platform in way of a runway for cultural celebration. Involving designers from across Australia and 20 local models, 'First Nations Fashion: Walking In Two Worlds' is an exemplary showcasing of Indigenous fashion, dance, film and live music. Transporting audiences between two worlds, this is a fashion show like no other. South Bank Piazza (BOQ Festival Garden), 5 September.

Restless Dream
'Restless Dream'


Restless Dream. A collaboration between Kamilaroi elder Uncle Bob Weatherall, Brisbane band Halfway, Digi Youth Arts, and Alethea Beetson, 'Restless Dream' is a new performance piece with cinematic soundscapes, traditional dance and stunning visual elements. A reflection of Uncle Bob’s efforts to repatriate Aboriginal remains from museums and institutions around the world, this large-scale musical production frames the rich landscapes of stories his essential work has uncovered. Combining contemporary music, traditional Kamilaroi language and spoken word, 'Restless Dream' centres reclamation, and truth-telling around the ongoing injustices towards Aboriginal people. The Tivoli, 19 September.

I Liked it BUT
'I Liked It, BUT...'


I Liked It, BUT... 'I Liked It, BUT...' goes where few 'experimental contemporary immersive performance' works dare to tread. . . Out of the theatre and into the bar to see what passes the 'pub test'. Expect very silly stories about very serious people, served with tongue firmly in cheek. Together, we’ll try and work out how stuff even gets made, and why we should care. Grab a drink and enjoy some tunes with Joel Bray and local musicians for a Pub Trivia Night about the craziest, weirdest, most confusing stuff he’s ever had to see on and off a stage. La Boite Forecourt, 9-15 September.

StreetSerenades MorganRoberts
'Street Serenades' - Image © Morgan Roberts


Street Serenades. You asked and we listened, Brisbane. The biggest music extravaganza ever to be staged in Brisbane’s history is back! We’re on the road again to serenade 190 suburbs of our glorious city with pop-up concerts delivered direct to your neighbourhood. From concerts in cul-de-sacs, symphonies for your suburb and performances in your favourite park, our new rolling stages will bring music to the streets. With suburban hosts leading the charge, this epic music programme will feature some of the country’s best contemporary musicians, as well as DJs, cabaret shows, circus, intimate concerts across folk, jazz and world music, our finest classical musicians, and ballet dancers. The party’s coming to you! The current First Nations line-up for 'Street Serenades' includes Christ Tamwoy, Beddy Rays, AYA J, Lydia Fairhall, Deline Briscoe, ELEEA, Zenith, Sue Ray + Shellie Morris. Across Brisbane, 3-25 September.

Brisbane Festival runs from 3-25 September across Brisbane.



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