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First Stories Festival mentors announced

We couldn’t be more excited to introduce the four Deadly Mentors joining us for First Stories Festival 2022:

Uncle Jack Charles, Jane Harrison, Kamarra Bell-Wykes & Mitch Tambo!

Across 5 days from 28th of February to 4 March 2022, these amazing guest mentors will lead workshops for the five participating storytellers. In daily 3 hour sessions, the mentors will share their very own stories, creative practice, and insights. Plus, the participating storytellers will have the opportunity to share their own work with the mentors to get dramaturgical advice.

Sermsah Bin Saad, our festival producer, sat down to have a yarn with the mentors to find out about their journeys as artists and what First Stories Festival means to them.

UNCLE JACK CHARLES – Revered Elder, Actor, Musician & Activist Being in the spotlight in the industry and sharing stories of our culture is important and a huge responsibility. I am at the forefront of education when it comes to speaking up about the atrocities of Australian history, it is necessary for me to educate people of today and the next generation. I am an Advocate for change and to be able to share my journey with others particularly those of the minority and the incarcerated not only inspires them to be heard but also helps them understand the strength in themselves and our culture. Telling our stories and practising our culture is essential for healing and allows us to find avenues to move forward.”

JANE HARRISON – Trailblazing Playwright (Stolen, Rainbow’s End) and Novelist “Stories make us human – they are the way we pass on and share our culture, knowledge, language, lived experiences and our imaginative realm. First Stories Festival will allow First Nations writers insight into playwriting and the possibilities it offers. This is about self-determination – by being the authors of their own creative endeavours, their writing can bring change to the world. Now more than ever, we need these stories.”

KAMARRA BELL-WYKES – Multi-talented Playwright, Performer, Director and Dramaturg “The most exciting part of my practice is the process of uncovering the story, tuning into the way it wants to be told because each and every story is unique and born differently. When we tap into the sweet spot where our Spirit, ears, minds, bodies and voices act as the facilitators as the channels of this story this is where our energies merge with the Universal knowledge of our old people. This is the privilege, responsibility and endless joy we get to experience as theatre-makers every time we embark on this journey. First Nations Theatre makers must be allowed the space, support, resources and most of all trust to discover their stories, their way, without Western interference.”

MITCH TAMBO – Celebrated Recording Artist, and a passionate Cultural Practitioner and Motivator “I love being on a journey where I can continually learn about who I am and what I am truly connected to whilst being able to share parts of that experience with a multitude of people from many different roads travelled in this life. I love the fact that my personal and professional life revolves around my culture. We are the oldest living continual culture on the planet and within that title is so much love, grace, diversity, teaching and beyond. To be on this path where I am constantly in a state of learning about that is exactly what my 15-year-old self-yearned to do.”

Applications for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participants are open until 29 October 2021.

We encourage applicants of all experience levels and interstate applicants. Participants will be paid award rates for the week. You don’t need a full script to apply, just an idea! You can send this through as text or via video using any medium that works for you to tell your story. For example, a song, poem, dance or simply telling a yarn. The mediums you can use are unlimited!

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to work with these Deadly Mentors, and Artists Sermsah Bin Saad & Brittanie Shipway. Get in touch to have a yarn about your application at


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