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Words and Red Dirt

The Red Centre is known for its red dirt, its vibrant arts community, its unique stories and voices. Recognising these beauties, in 2014 a grass-roots festival was seeded.

Eight years on, the Red Dirt Poetry Festival has grown into the international Poetry and Spoken Word Festival it is today, celebrating the vital voices and creative works of local, national and international artists who shape our world today.

By Zoya Godoroja-Prieckaerts

Spanning four jam-packed days, over 50 artists are featured in this year’s program, from established to emerging and everything in-between. The range of creative practices is a true delight, with many of the artists working in multidisciplinary practices, bringing performance, visual arts and experimentation to their poetry to create exciting, new and innovative work.

Expect an incredible line-up including Thando Sibanda, hailing all the way from South Africa, world-renowned poet Luka Lesson, 2021’s slam winner HUDA the Goddess, 2019 slam winner Melanie Mununggurr, and many many more.

The integrity of this festival is palpable, according to Festival Director, Laurie May.

“Emerging poets have the space at a festival to spend time with more experienced poets and networks and create new works. It’s about community and pushing people outside their comfort zones,”she says.

This year’s theme is around longing and reconnection, referencing the isolation felt from the pandemic.

“It’s to figure out where we belong, and how we fit into the new reality of our existence here on Earth.”

With incredible local art and fresh national and international stories, the audience is brought down to Earth, the red dirt Earth, where we can really take a good, strong look at who and where we are today.

The majority of artists programmed use their creative practices as a platform to comment on social, environmental and political issues, as ways to both express themselves and educate others.

The program is full of workshops, presentations, an eclectic array of live performances and exclusive commissioned works. Enjoy Poetry In Motion, where poets and dancers team up to create one hour of moving, poetic expression. Agapi & Other Kinds Of Love is a modern hip-hop opera embedded in the Ancient Greek storytelling tradition. Tennant Creek rockers, Unbroken Expanse, present a very special performance on the Saturday night.

Get on over to Totem Theatre for the Opening Ceremony, and kick off four rich and resonant days of art and poetry, in all its glorious forms.


Red Dirt Poetry Festival
WHEN THU 4 – SUN 7 AUG
AT MPARNTWE/ALICE SPRINGS & ONLINE
COST FREE-$25
INFO reddirtpoetryfestival.com

Opening Ceremony
WHEN THU 4 AUG | 6PM
AT TOTEM THEATRE

Thumbnail & inset: Huda the Goddess
Header: Unbroken Expanse

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