Outreach Programmes

Bangarra Dance Theatre

Complementing their multi-city tour of India as part of Australia Fest, Australia’s leading Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dance company Bangarra Dance Theatre, travelled to Indigenous communities across India to undertake a series of community engagement opportunities.

The first stop in a series of such activities was Bhopal where Bangarra collaborated with the Baiga - a forest-dwelling Indigenous community of central India from Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.

Bangarra dancers also travelled to Purulia, home of the Chhau mask dance, and Aizawl in Northeast India, to learn and experience a variety of traditional dances in a series of artistic collaborations with these communities.

Here are a few glimpses.

Taste of Australia

MasterChef Australia’s Mystery Box Challenge inspired the NGO, Foundation for Mother and Children Health India (FMCH), to adapt the concept to tackle malnutrition and improve health among vulnerable populations in Maharashtra. For Australia Fest, FMCH identified 52 women from these communities who had successfully completed the NGO’s nutrition course to compete in two eliminations rounds of the challenge. The focus of the challenges was to cook a nutritious and delicious recipe using surprise local ingredients.

The final round of the Mystery Box Challenge was judged by Chef Gary Mehigan, of MasterChef fame and our Australia Fest Ambassador, and Chef Divesh Aswani, Australian alumnus and Head Chef of Magazine Street Kitchen. Six groups of women who won the previous rounds in their communities competed in the final. Although this was the first time that the women experienced a commercial kitchen, they quickly overcame the initial nervousness due to the support and encouragement from both Gary and the Magazine Kitchen team. Gary monitored the time and interacted with the women in his characteristic MasterChef Australia style, complete with the final countdown. In the end, the judges had a very tough time choosing the winners. The winning team prepared a whole meal with rice, dal (chana dal was part of the mystery box too), roti, a curry and a pumpkin and rava sheera. Congratulations to everyone involved!

"I invite you to experience the diversity and dynamism of Australian culture. Come, see and engage with Australia, in your city and through our online platforms, and see what we have to offer. " - Australia's High Commissioner to India, HE Ms Harinder Sidhu