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Welcome to Wollongong’s Home of the Performing Arts

First Nations Program

Our venues rest on unceded First Nations land. In all the we do, we seek to acknowledge and show respect to all First Nations people who call our region home.

Our company’s name, ‘Merrigong’, reflects the Dharawal word for the Illawarra region’s distinctive escarpment, a landmark of supreme cultural importance. The name serves as a constant reminder that our venues rest on unceded First Nations land. In all that we do, Merrigong Theatre Company seeks to acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land, and to show respect to all First Nations people who call our region home.

Establishing a First Nations Performing Arts Program

There is no meaningful path to Merrigong doing better for our community that does not start with doing better for our region’s First Nations people.

As a company, Merrigong has been on a journey of listening and learning from and consulting with our local First Nations community and leaders in our sector. We are now determined to move this work beyond ideas and discussion, into committed actions, accompanied by a program of ongoing cultural learning as a company.

What is the vision for the First Nations Performing Arts Program 

Establish a distinct, self-determined First Nations Performing Arts Program at Merrigong. Through further clarification and guidance through ongoing community consultation, the program will be driven by First Nations staff and will include:

• To support local First Nations artists, especially young people, in the development of their artistic practice, and in the creation and presentation of new locally made performing arts works.

• To facilitate and support our local First Nations community in greater access to and use of the public infrastructure (venues) and resources with which Merrigong is entrusted.

• To connect, through programming and cultural exchange, our local First Nations community, as well as our programs and wider community of artists, into the broader context of a national and international network of First Nations arts activity.

If you’d like to know more, please contact us to discuss.

First Nations Reference Group

The First Nations Reference Group’s primary role is to consult with and advise Merrigong’s Board, management, and First Nations staff on how best to support the aims of the First Nations Performing Arts Program at Merrigong, and on matters relating to the cultural safety, learning and development of First Nations people through Merrigong’s programs and operations.

It is proposed that this Reference Group will develop its own charter but broadly it is envisaged that:
• The group will consist of up to 10 local First Nations elders, artists, and community representatives, with a range of skills, experience and ages sought.
• The Reference Group will be appointed by the Merrigong board, with the board seeking advice regarding the group’s initial membership from Merrigong management and key community contacts.
• The members of the Reference Group will be remunerated for their attendance at meetings at an agreed level.
• The Reference Group’s charter, which will be drawn up by the group, will clearly define its relationship with the Merrigong board and company management; however, it is proposed that a First Nations member of the Merrigong Board would also serve on the Reference Group.
• The group’s primary role will be to consult with and advise Merrigong’s Board, management, and First Nations staff on how best to support the aims of the First Nations Performing Arts Program at Merrigong and to advise on matters relating to the cultural safety, learning and development of First Nations people through Merrigong’s programs and operations.

We are still inviting Expressions of Interest for Merrigong’s First Nations Reference Group. Local First Nations elders, artists, and community representatives with a range of skills, experience and ages are sought to serve on this Reference Group. The Reference Group will be appointed by the Merrigong board and will be remunerated for their attendance at meetings.

For more information and how to apply, click here. 

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