Having a Yarn with First Nations Producer, Brittanie Shipway

Recently there’s been a much-needed push for First Nations voices on Australian stages, but are we getting it right?

Here, Sydney Fringe Festival’s previous First Nations Producer Brittanie Shipway chats about INDIE YARNS and how it will give artists the chance to listen to some of Sydney’s leading independent First Nations artists as they talk about their creative process, staying true to culture and how they make stuff happen in a competitive industry.
Redfern Community Centre
29-53 Hugo St, Redfern NSW 2016
Saturday 3rd September, 12pm-2pm
Register for free here:

Q: What is the purpose of INDIE YARNS – FIRST NATIONS Q&A?


Brittanie: INDIE YARNS is a conversation starter! In recent years there’s been a big necessary push to include Aboriginal stories on our stages, but it can be difficult to know where to start. The first step is to allow yourself to listen to First Nations artists; let their experiences guide you in your approach to storytelling and collaboration in this country.


Q: Why did you approach these speakers to talk?


Brittanie: This Q&A gives us a chance to hear from panellists that have made their voices heard, in whatever their chosen discipline, be it producing, writing, directing, screen acting, theatre performance, drag, and voice over work. The more success stories we hear, the more mob are encouraged to take up the mantle and share their own stories. We’ve carefully curated a panel of deadly artists from all walks of life that are passionate about creating and sharing art. We can’t wait to see where the conversation will take us on Saturday 3rd September!

Q: How are INDIE YARNS relevant for First Nations and non-First Nations artists?


Brittanie: Our industry thrives on collaboration. We need to break down the tricky questions and be honest before we move in the right direction. So many non-First Nations creatives have the best of intentions but have no idea how to meaningfully engage with First Peoples. Conversations like INDIE YARNS give us an opportunity to open the doors wide and invite everyone in the room. Sydney Fringe is dedicated in recent months to encouraging the next generation of First Nation artists into the festival, so any mob who have a story to tell but don’t know where to start, this is the event for you! Ask Sandy Greenwood how she got down to writing her award-winning play Matriarch and what the collaboration process looked like. Or Angeline Penrith what it means to be born political in the Redfern theatre scene. Or Bjorn Stewart how he cracked screen work. How Nana Miss Koori came up with their fabulous drag name (a delicious pun on the Greek 70’s torch singer Nana Mouskouri). What empowered Jodie Welsh-Choolburra to start up a cultural dance school to engage the next generation? They’re an inspiration to us at Sydney Fringe, and we think they’ll inspire you too.



Q: What would you like the audience to walk away with?

Brittanie: Permission to celebrate First Nations storytelling!



Q: What is the most asked question that never seems to be answered when it comes to working with First Nations artists?

Brittanie: Where do I start? (from both non-First Nations artists and mob!)



Q: Is there anything else that you want to add about INDIE YARNS?

Brittanie: We’re taking this event outside of the usual theatre spaces, and into the heart of the community. Redfern Community Centre is a beautiful space that is culturally safe and well known by the mob. We invite everyone into the room for this conversation and ask that you bring your ears and all your questions! We hope we’ll get down to answering as many as we can!


First Nations Q & A