Yaama Yaama!

Erica Brennan here, I am under strict instructions from my uncles that I have to tell everyone I am a proud Gamillaroi woman.

So, imagine me standing in front of you my arms open wide above my head calling this out into your ear holes, in what I hope is a powerful and melodious voice.  I also work for the Sydney Fringe in various capacities and one of those is as First Nations Coordinator.

The Sydney Fringe Festival takes place on the beautiful land of the following clans; Gadigal, Boromedegal/Burraamattagal, Wallumedegal, Gweagal, Kamegal/Gameygal, Gomerigal, Norongeragàl, Wanegal, Cammeraygal, Borogegal, Garigal, and Bidjigal. People and cultures that have been gathering for storytelling events for over 60 thousand years. It is a privilege to be able to walk, live and make work on a land so rich with creative expression. In recent years Fringe has undertaken a process of deep listening to First Nations people and so we can best make space for First Nations artists an audiences to participate in the Fringe environment. First Nations voices are important to each and every one of us that calls this place home. For Fringe it is double important that our festival reflects those voices in their multitudinous brilliance and diversity.

Thinking of what next year’s festival will look like we hope (and will work hard to ensure) that more of our incredible First Nations Artists will take to the stage with fringe. More like Paul Ahh Chee whose intimate performances of ‘A Life Travelled Through Six Decades’ was music that went straight to your soul. More infectious hilarity like Dane Simpson’s ‘Didjerdoozy.’ More big-hearted sharing of the First Nations artist experience like the fascinating chat we had with our ‘Indie Yarn’ panellists. We want more. We need more!


Sandy Greenwood stands in the centre of a stage which is lit orange. Trees stand either side of the artist.

– Sandy Greenwood in Matriarch 2019. 

And so, to make space for this in 2023 Fringe is getting ready to provide more on-the-ground support to Indigenous artists to make their art their way.  We are getting better all the time at listening. At providing resources, and better at finding out how to work with the community for the community. In getting better at all these things we are ensuring that Sydney Fringe will continue to make space for the gathering and the sharing of stories now and 60 000 years into the future. It’s a Sydney Festival that honours the community and land we sit on.