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Isaac Drandic joins the team for a six-month dramaturgy residency

Playwriting Australia has created a new Indigenous creative residency to start addressing a very specific gap within the theatre sector: the limited number of skilled Indigenous dramaturgs working with new writing for performance. In addition to building dramaturgical skills, the residency provides enormous scope to develop a deeper understanding of performative practice in Aboriginal theatre.

Melbourne-based director and dramaturg Isaac Drandic kicked off his residency in March 2014 at the National Script Workshops and to start exploring a best-practice dramaturgical model for Indigenous theatre, creating protocols and methodologies for the sector. Isaac is currently Associate Director at Ilbijerri Theatre, Australia”s leading Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander theatre company.

Across the next six months he will work closely with PWA’s senior creative staff in reading and responding to new scripts and developing new plays through our workshops. He”ll also contribute to the programming of the National Play Festival and leading research and consultations with key Indigenous artists.

Isaac speaks to us about the need for skilled indigenous dramaturgs:

“I have recently made a new theatre work Coranderrk which I directed for the Belvoir”s 2013 season in co-production with Ilbijerri Theatre. When I first set out making this new work I immediately looked at enrolling the key creative team. I searched for an Indigenous dramaturg who was skilled in this area. Unfortunately there isn”t one. The conversations between myself and the Ilbijerri team and Indigenous colleagues around the country centred around developing someone to fill this role.

The residency program with Playwriting Australia is a timely one and an important step toward developing an Indigenous dramaturg with particular skills in supporting and shaping new Indigenous works. I”m most interested in exploring how western disciplines of making and shaping theatre are relevant to the making and shaping of Indigenous theatre. Is there a difference in the process? If so, do we need to develop another process? 

This residency will feed into my workboth as a director and the Associate Director of Ilbijerri Theatre, especially when working with writers involved in Ilbijerri”s Writers Residency program.”


Meet the resident artist

Isaac Drandic


Isaac Drandic is a father, actor, writer and the Associate Director of Ilbijerri Theatre Company. As an actor he has worked with theatre companies such as Black Swan (Yandy, One Destiny), Sydney Theatre Company (Romeo and Juliet), Yirra Yaakin (Mothers Tongue), Melbourne Theatre Company (The Birthday Party, Australia The Show!!), Malthouse (Stolen, Casting Doubts) Hot House, Griffin, and Ilbijerri Theatre Company. 

Isaac made his directorial debut in 2011 directing Ilbijerri’s production Coranderrk, We Will Show The Country at La Mama’s Carlton Courthouse. This production went on to play at Federation Square’s BMW Edge in the inaugural Melbourne Indigenous Arts Festival and at the Sydney Opera House in 2012.

Other directing credits include Coranderrk (Belvoir and Ilbijerri Theatre 2013), two new works at the inaugural Yellamundie Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Playwriting Festival 2013(Sydney Festival, Mooghalin Performing Arts Inc), co-director of Archie Roach’s national tour Into The Bloodstream (AWME, Sydney Festival, Perth International Arts Festival, Woodford Folk Festival, Adelaide Festival, Melbourne Festival) Blak Cabaret  (Malthouse Theatre’ touring program 2012), and the Blak Writers Lab Showcase (Ilbijerri, 2012/13). Isaac was Assistant Director on Waltzing The Wilara (Yirra Yaakin) and Peter Pan (Belvoir).



Photo: Enzo Amato, March 2014. Isaac Drandic and Steven McCall during the development of Seven Deadly Gins by Leah Purcell and Yvette Walker at the National Script Workshops 2014. 

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