Belvoir awards 2022 Balnaves Fellowship
[by Sean Radecki]
Belvoir is thrilled to announce Gumbaynggirr and Wiradjuri actor and creative Dalara Williams as the 2022 Balnaves Foundation Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Fellow.
The Balnaves Fellowship provides the opportunity to work at Belvoir as a resident artist to create a work for the stage, and this year, has increased to a $45,000 paid residency over an 18-month period. It seeks to be deeply collaborative, offering an invitation to have a voice in Belvoir’s artistic decision-making processes and the opportunity to support other Indigenous artists through Belvoir’s creative development and programming.
The Fellowship has long been recognised as one of the most prestigious playwriting awards in Australia, attracting entrants of the highest calibre. Previous recipients (including Leah Purcell, Nakkiah Lui, Kodie Bedford and Nathan Maynard) have submitted exceptional works that consistently affirm the depth of talent amongst our nation’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander theatre-makers. 2021 recipient, Thomas Weatherall, will be presenting his play Blue as part of the 2023 Sydney Festival line-up, made possible by The Balnaves Foundation.
Williams’ new work, As I Was Walking Down Eveleigh Street, follows a family residing in the community of Redfern streets, better known as ‘The Block’. Living on Eveleigh Street, the family learn the ups and downs of being Blackfullas in the city. Although they can’t control what happens outside of those four streets, they know that they’ll always be safe at home, that is, until the anger and tension from the outside world begins to seep into their safe space.
Dalara Williams was born and raised in Sydney on Gadigal country. She graduated from the National Institute of Dramatic Art in 2017 and made her feature film debut in Top End Wedding, along with being a main cast member for ABC’s Black Comedy.
Williams’ stage credits include Winyanboga Yurringa, Malthouse Theatre’s Blackie Blackie Brown, Ilbijerri Theatre Company’s Black Ties and Darlinghurst Theatre’s Rainbows End.
Her first play, The Lookout was selected by Moogahlin Theatre Company as a part of Yellamundie Festival, and she has since been selected as part of Ilbijerri Theatre Company’s Black Wrights writing program. Williams has strong ties to her culture and now through writing is on the journey to bring those two worlds together, showcasing the importance of own voices, language, culture and stories to the stage and screen.
Hamish Balnaves, CEO of The Balnaves Foundation said, “The Foundation believes in supporting the next generation of artists and the creative development of new Australian work. Philanthropic support provides the opportunity to bring new Indigenous works to new audiences; engaging, challenging and educating them.
These stories play a pivotal role in truth telling, treaty and reconciliation. Congratulations to Dalara on being awarded the Balnaves Fellowship, we are truly excited to see how she will use the fellowship to further develop her creative work as a talented artist in the industry.”
Belvoir is also excited to announce Nazaree Dickerson and Brendan Boney as Balnaves Associate Artists. They will each receive $5000 which will cover a detailed story outline or first draft of a work, in addition to creative development.
Currently based on Gunditjmara country, Portland Victoria, Nazaree Dickerson is a Wardandi Bibbulman Noongar and Burmese person from Boorloo (Perth), Western Australia. Nazaree is an Actor, Writer and Director who’s lived experience as a queer woman of colour and in a family ravaged by the trauma of multiple stolen generations has fueled her to continue sharing First Nation narratives.
Brendon Boney is a Wiradjuri & Gamilaroi man who was born and grew up in Wagga Wagga. He is a Sound Designer, Composer, Writer and Performer now based in Darkinjung country on the Central Coast of New South Wales.
Eamon Flack, Belvoir Artistic Director, said, “I hope it’s a sign of real change that this year’s Balnaves Fellowship has been chosen by a panel of Black artists already on staff at Belvoir, and that alongside the Fellowship we’re also offering two Balnaves Associates. It’s also great that Dalara grew up just down the road from Belvoir in Redfern/Waterloo, which has long been a place of protest and celebration for Aboriginal people, and she’ll spend her time at Belvoir writing a local story. We’ve also changed the structure of the Fellowship so that Dalara and the previous Fellow Thomas Weatherall will overlap for 6 months, and work inside the company alongside a growing group of strong Black artists, including Kodie, Kalkadoon actor/director Abbie-lee Lewis and Board Director Jake Nash.”
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