Emele Ugavule lives and works in Sydney’s western suburbs. A NIDA graduate, theatremaker (of Black Birds, with Ayeesha Ash) and producer (of The Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre’s New Work program), she sets “very clear guidelines” for the theatre she attends.
“I believe accessibility consciousness is integral to making the change I want to see as an audience member and a practitioner,” Ugavule says.
For starters, the protagonist must be a Person of Colour.
“The narrative has to centralise stories from marginalised communities: First Nations, Women of Colour, Men of Colour, Non-Binary Folk, Queer People of Colour and People with Disabilities,” Ugavule says. “And the production must employ people from these communities as actors and writer, with director or producer being a plus, too.”
It also can’t cost more than $60 she adds.
“It cuts the majority of theatre in Sydney’s CBD out of my viewing but it means I am actively supporting the artists who need it the most and it filters my viewing experience to work I am equal parts challenged by and connected to. Sydney’s West produces my favourite type of theatre – intercultural, intersectional and interdisciplinary.”
“Ghenoa Gela is a pioneer. She is a leader, a warrior woman, a navigator, a sister, a dancer, a comedian, an actor and much much much more. I’m excited to see this show because Torres Strait Islander theatre in Sydney is rare. Ghenoa’s storytelling is magnetic and I can’t wait to be wrapped in it!”
My Urrwai plays Belvoir Downstairs Theatre until February 4
Curated by Bhenji Ra, presented by Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras
“Bhenji Ra is phenomenal. I follow her work and the work of a few of the artists in this line up (SLE, COVEN, FAFSWAG). I’m in love with and inspired by the work that is being produced by the Trans community in the Eora nation and beyond, and the connections and exchanges that are happening between Queer People of Colour here and in Aotearoa. Not to mention the incredible music lineup. Electric Fields! OMG!
There is so much that Sydney’s theatre scene could learn from them. The community is strong. The work is stunning. The looks are effortless. The leadership is real. This is going to be a night to remember.”
Sissyball is at Carriageworks, February 24
“I don’t know [writer and actor] Amer Hlehel at all but I am incredibly interested in the story of the Palestinian peoples struggle, and poetry in theatrical spaces.
Given our government’s current stance on asylum seekers, the content is very relevant. Poetry and spoken word are incredible mediums and have seen the way they connect communities and transform audience interaction in the Greater West (the Bankstown poetry slam is just one example) in a way that I find engaging and important to changing theatre. I also love Riverside, it’s only a 30min ride on the train and the amazing restaurants surrounding the theatre make for a holistically enjoyable evening of theatre.”
Taha plays at the Illawarra Performing Arts Centre, March 21-24 and Riverside Theatres, March 27-28.
Want more? Read an Audrey feature on Amer Hlehel here. Read an interview with Ghenoa Gela here.