“We want to try and utilise this space a lot more than we
have been over the past few years,” Tandanya CEO Dennis Stokes tells The
Adelaide Review. “We want to do more festival-type events, take it indoors
and outdoors – with the roller doors up it just becomes one big venue.”
Having taken on management of the institution ahead of its 30th anniversary this year, this repositioning will see Tandanya become Adelaide’s first all-First Nations Fringe hub. With similar clusterings like The Garden of Unearthly Delights, RCC and Gluttony coming to define the Adelaide Fringe over the past decade, it’s a timely addition to the city’s February and March cultural fabric.
“Tandanya’s always been a part of Fringe, but it’s been a
venue for hire,” he explains. “It’s never been Tandanya’s event and I thought,
this is our 30th year, if we’re going to move forward we need to
create our own event, stuff that belongs to Tandanya and not just
bringing in people. Even in the future, it’s about developing theatre, and
“But with the Fringe, it’s important that we showcase this venue. It is the National Indigenous Cultural Institute, we need to make sure that people are coming and seeing Indigenous culture, so it’s important that we got this up and running, and in our 30th year that was the best time to do it. And showcase that, you know, we’re here, and we want people to be a part of it.”
While other venues have long welcomed First Nations Fringe acts, Tandanya offers a safe, community-run space for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander performers and audience members, and an easy point of entry for non-Indigenous Fringe-goers. “I mean, they’re [Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people] not going to other places and being treated differently,” he says of the existing festival landscape.