Wesley spoke about contemporary Indigenous arts practices and the role of Indigenous storytelling in cultivating social and political change.
Wesley is a Nunukul and Ngugi man from Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island). Especially known for his seminal play, ‘The 7 Stages of Grieving’, co-written with Deborah Mailman, Wesley was previously artistic director of the Queensland Theatre Company and director of the Sydney Festival. He is currently Indigenous Chair of Creative Industries, Education and Social Justice at the Queensland University of Technology.
In this Conversation, Wesley shared how the intersection between politics and art was reflected in his family life from a young age, with his great aunt, Oodgeroo Noonuccal, teaching him the importance of storytelling for healing and in understanding country. Wesley explained that his passion for theatre over other art forms stems from the inherently interactive nature of the theatre experience, in that the audience is forced to engage fully with the story presented to it.
Wesley also explained how his approach as a director changes, depending on whether he is creating for an Indigenous or a non-Indigenous audience. This is due to the differing baselines of shared experience and understanding. Wesley intends to use his new position as Indigenous Chair of Creative Industries at QUT to include Indigenous culture in the national conversation about global issues such as climate change, healthcare and human rights.
You can view a recording of the event below.