NIDA acknowledges the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the lands on which we learn and tell stories, the Bidjigal, Gadigal, Dharawal and Dharug peoples, and we pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders past and present.

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Emily helps out Midnight Feast as they prepare for 'Fireside' at Sydney Opera House

Ensemble in Residence Midnight Feast has been rehearsing 'Fireside' at NIDA and Emily Pires, an Indigenous first-year student studying Bachelor of Fine Arts (Costume), has been helping them out.

Above: NIDA Costume student Emily Pires with Joseph Cardona, who plays Miss First Nation.

Ensemble in Residence Midnight Feast has been rehearsing Fireside at NIDA and Emily Pires, an Indigenous first-year student studying Bachelor of Fine Arts (Costume), has been helping them out. Fireside is at Sydney Opera House from November 29.

The company provides artists experiencing physical, intellectual and emotional challenges with the opportunity to participate in the performing arts. It celebrates abilities not limitations. Fireside is written by Dr Stephen Sewell and the NIDA Masters of Fine Arts (Writing for Performance) students in 2018 in collaboration with the Midnight Feast Company.

Emily Pires has been volunteering on the project with NIDA’s Graduate Course Convenor Dr Suzanne Osmond, who has designed costumes for the production.

First Nations Australian actor, dancer and drag queen artist Joseph Cardona has been cast to play the character of Josie, the first ever Miss First Nation. Joseph came to NIDA for a costume fitting with Suzanne and Emily and Artistic Director Kylie Harris. It's a role which Cardona himself won at the Darwin drag queen festival in 2017. ‘I always wanted to be that mentor to teach Indigenous youth to not be afraid and to reach their dreams,’ he said.

‘Fireside is all about connections, exploring humanity in all its diversity, challenging assumptions and discovering the power of a small act of kindness,’ said Kylie Harris. She said the production is about ‘People sitting around a campfire at dusk, stars glittering above, talking about their dreams…Sarah wishes she wasn't deaf, Nick would prefer he really was John Farnham and Heath that he wasn't hit by a car. One person dreams the world might be a better place… another that people could be nicer but all Nina wants is a golden ticket.’

Above: Midnight Feast in rehearsal at NIDA, preparing for Fireside.

Australian actor Kiruna Stamell (who has dwarfism) recently became Midnight Feast’s ambassador. ‘Being able to represent disability on mainstream stages, in film and on television really promotes diversity, access and a social change. Without genuinely disabled people being enabled and facilitated so that they can share their voices and ideas with society via the arts in Australia, we are effectively silenced and rendered invisible’, she said.

‘We all really like being able to develop our work here at NIDA. Everyone is helpful and the atmosphere here is so creative,’ said Midnight Feast artist Oliver House.

Tickets and information about Fireside at the Sydney Opera House here.

Applications for 2020 Bachelor of Fine Arts (Costume) course at NIDA will open in July 2019. To stay up to date and register your interest visit

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