Fringe Talk with 2018 Sydney Fringe Ambassador Andy Dexterity

Choreographer, performance maker, actor and ambassador for Deaf Australia, Andy Dexterity sings with the world no matter what form he finds it in. In 2017 he appeared at TedX Sydney communicating the necessity and beauty of inclusion in arts practice, culminating in a cover of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody sung through his whole body as “signdance”. Fans of Andy’s choreography include pop singer Kimbra, with whom he collaborated for the video clip to her song 90s Music, and he is part of a movement of artists with and without disability establishing new ground in accessibility and aesthetics globally.

He brings this passion to the Sydney Fringe as one of its 2018 Ambassadors.

“My favourite thing about The Sydney Fringe Festival,” says Andy, “is seeing so many wonderful, weird, creative creatures expressing themselves, and seeing them and their creative babies all over the city.”

For Andy it’s vital to champion this virility. “Everybody lives in their own bubble of reality. Here everything is competing against everything else, vying for our attention.So much inescapable visual noise and so much noise noise. As an ambassador for the Sydney Fringe, I am penetrating that giant wall of noise to say: Hey, the Sydney Fringe Festival is happening and you just might enjoy it, and this particular one is going to be more diverse and inclusive than ever before.”

Image by Andy Dexterity

Image by Andy Dexterity

Accessibility and inclusion in major arts events such as Sydney Fringe are not simply a benefit to patrons with a disability, or aiming to only connect members of minority communities – there is something fundamentally transformative for everyone when art is truly collaborative.

“My point of focus and manifestation for the Sydney Fringe and Sydney cultural landscape,” says Andy, “is a vision of the ever expanding celebration of diversity and inclusion. More space for more stories and more opportunities for empathy and understanding. I see the consideration and inclusion of all the languages of Sydney, especially local indigenous languages, especially local signed languages, especially the inclusion of braille and especially visual description options. Not just as a service for people with differing backgrounds and abilities, but as welcome layers of richness to the experience of the artworks and performances for everyone to bathe in – a truer representation of the city which we are.”

This city is not always forgiving for artists. For many there is a sense beyond urgency, a need to continually create for its own sake, just making work for that big break they see others around them winning.

“I like to keep my focus on the antenna aspect of the artist role,” admits Andy, “I’m attracting ideas and amplifying them through my sensory lenses. This takes the pressure off me needing to adhere to an idea of me ‘being an artist’ and any expectations that might create. Though, in times when my creative self runs dry – and it does – mother nature is always the answer. Anything that takes me out of my head and into my heart.”

He breathes in. He breathes out.

Andy is quite pragmatic with his thoughts for emerging artists wrestling with getting their work out into the streets of Sydney.

“Don’t wait. Do the thing now,” he urges, “We are led to believe we need the right training before we do the thing.That we need a certain amount of money or know the right people to do the thing.”

For Andy, these fears are just someone else’s story, illusions best not believed when starting out making art.

“The story you live IS your work. You are enough. Relax and find enjoyment in the act of sharing.”


Words by James Dalton


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