aidan rowlingson play producer yellamundie
Photo: Instagram | Aidan Rowlingson.

Drama explores culture and sexuality at Sydney’s Yellamundie Festival

A Brisbane playwright’s insightful new production exploring themes from sexuality to grief will appear at the fifth annual Yellamundie Festival in Sydney this month.

Butchulla and Kabi Kabi man Aidan Rowlingson’s play, currently titled Capricorn, examines a range of issues in the context of an ending romantic relationship.

With a background in acting and spoken-word poetry, Rowlingson has developed as a creator and producer since beginning his career.

His new play comes after a number of events set to feature his projects last year were scrapped due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Capricorn (a title that may yet change) follows a couple who are drawn back into each other’s lives by events following their breakup.

“It’s very much a coming-of-age story,” Rowlingson told Pink Advocate.

“The characters explore their sexuality in their own way, with this idea that there’s no one way to be gay or bi.

“The play explores queer themes, but it’s different in the sense that we see it through a male–female relationship that’s broken up – I put a fresh take on it, and it’s definitely not through a ‘straight’ couple’s eyes.”

Rowlingson said that the show will feature performances by Aboriginal actors and that queer First Nations people represent a minority within a minority.

“The play touches on that without touching on it,” he said.

“It’s representation… it’s very important to me that an audience member can say ‘wow, that’s a really unique perspective’, or queer Indigenous people come in and say ‘oh my god, that’s me and part of my story’.

“The play doesn’t try to be the queer Aboriginal story, but it is a queer Indigenous story that offers up some perspective and a window into a specific community.

“At its core, the play is about being human and growing up, and I hope anyone can walk out of the theatre feeling just a little bit seen.”

Rowlingson said he was excited to be featured in the festival, which this year has been opened up to multiple art forms, including music and dance.

The Yellamundie Festival is the only one in Australia to identify, develop, and present new First Peoples stories for the stage.

It has seen ten featured works go on to full production in Australia.

This year’s festival will feature six ground-breaking works by First Peoples artists.

Performances will run from 22 to 24 January, with tickets available online now.

As well as live performances in Sydney, parts of the Yellamundie Festival will be available to view online.

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