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Drew Fairley

MERRIGONGX Artist Profile


Well-known performer and theatre-maker Drew Fairley, a Wollongong favourite with long-term connections to our region’s performance community, has accepted a commission from Merrigong to undertake the first stage of writing a new work (untitled as yet) inspired by his experience of being stranded as a performer on a cruise ship for over 10 weeks during the crisis.

With a varied career as a performer, singer, director, playwright and dramaturg, Drew has branched out to contemporary and Musical Theatre styles and has performed two critically acclaimed solo cabarets; Sook and Romance. He operated a madrigal group for five years and is interested in melding drama and songs.

Artist Statement

I was stuck on a cruise ship for over two months. For some of that time I was floating without direction or urgency. It was quite a frustrating, even frightening time. I had to forget who I had been up until this time. From there, a huge creative surge flooded me. I suspect I experienced the richness of abandon… or something like that. It feels like a very human story.

I have made a career in many different fields. Trained as an opera singer, worked as a burlesque Emcee and regardless of how highbrow or lowbrow the art is, I’m intrigued. This breadth has served me well as a creative but more particularly as a listener. I love to couch my shows in entertainment but there is always a rope ladder heading up or down whichever way the audience feels comfortable going.

Drew Fairley

Artist Conversation

Listen to our MERRIGONGX Conversations podcast to hear our Artistic Development Manager Leland Kean chat to Drew Fairley. In Part 1 Drew discusses his creative path and connections to the Illawarra. In Part 2 they discuss the independent artist scene from the late 90s through to Drew’s fascinating experience on board a cruise ship during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coming Up…