Engaging with local First Nations communities through the performing arts

Denise Wilson, Tandi Palmer Williams, Karilyn Brown, Liza-Mare Syron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A major consideration in touring a First Nations performing arts production is how to engage with local indigenous communities on whose country someone else's story is being told. Engagement strategies have often failed due to a systemic lack of direct consultation with and participation by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the development of community engagement programmes and activities.

Through a case study of the Indigenous Community Engagement initiative implemented by Performing Lines, an Australian producing and touring organisation, the concept of community engagement for touring on country is reimagined as one based on a responsive rather than a prescriptive approach, and on s elf-determined and Indigenous-led frameworks.

The case study highlights the cultural responsibilities and challenges of presenting First Nations performance on country, the key considerations around connecting and engaging with local Indigenous communities, and the need to build awareness, protocols and culturally safe spaces with performing arts centres.

The only one of its kind in the performing arts in Australia, this initiative showcases the potential to revolutionise the way in which engagement with Indigenous communities is delivered across the performing arts sector as a whole.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-100
Number of pages32
JournalAustralasian Drama Studies
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018


  • Indigenous
  • performing arts
  • Aboriginal
  • performance
  • community
  • engagement


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