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COOKED confronts the impact of Captain Cook

New theatre work responds to questions Australians asked about the past with First Nations young people providing answers


COOKED, a new work by Digi Youth Arts in collaboration with The Good Room, aims to shine a light on the history of Australia’s treatment of Aboriginal people in Australia, dating back to the arrival of Captain Cook in 1770, up to and including the present. 

The work was shaped by more than 1200 community submissions to a series of questions posed by First Nations children and young people from six years old to 27 years old.

COOKED draws on a variety of art forms including verbatim theatre, spoken word, rap, dance and physical theatre

The production also provided mentoring and professional development for young Indigenous creatives across creative producing, sound design and costume + set design; as well as the development of 5 emerging performers.

Brisbane-based Digi Youth Arts is a not-for-profit arts organisation that shares the stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people. As a leading youth arts organisation, Digi Youth Arts creates change through artistic excellence and advocacy, honouring ancestors, respecting Elders and continuing the stories of one of the oldest surviving cultures in the world.

The Good Room is a Brisbane-based performance collective who use the anonymous experiences of ordinary people to create extraordinary theatre works.


When and where

25 – 28 May 2022, Brisbane

COOKED debuted at the Cremorne Theatre, QPAC 24-29 May 2022 as part of QPAC’s Clancestry – A Celebration of Country.



Key stats

  • 1 new performance created
  • 1 preview and 6 performances performed at Clancestry
  • 9 newly employed Queensland based artists and artworkers
  • 23 Queensland artists and cultural workers employed
  • 1300 audience members

Arts Queensland investment 

COOKED received funding of $39,380 through the Independent Creation Fund, as part of the $22.5 million Arts and Cultural Recovery Package. The Fund aimed to provides support to Queensland small to medium arts and cultural organisations; producers and performing arts venues to employ independent artists and arts workers to deliver new projects

Digi Youth Arts receives funding of $280,000 through the Organisations Fund 2022-2025.

COOKED was also supported through the Australian Government's Indigenous Languages and Arts program.




A strong and sustainable sector

  • Collaboration between two organisations – Digi Youth Arts and the Good Room - supported the development of a unique production. It is anticipated that the organisations will work together in the future.

Working with The Good Room was a wonderful experience. It was great to have industry experts in the room who were so respectful of the work and let the youth take the lead. This collaboration was a success and DYA would work with The Good Room again in the future.

  • Ongoing professional relationship with QPAC - The support and willingness of mainstream organisations to help create blak works is very important to Digi Youth Arts and the greater arts community. 
  • The funding also put five young emerging Indigenous artists on stage. 


Elevate First Nations arts

  • COOKED was the first production assignment for two staff members and provided experience and knowledge in developing a theatre performance. 
  • The funding also put five young emerging Indigenous artists on stage. 
  • Digi Youth Arts had regular consultation with the company’s Elders in Residence Uncle Charles Passi and Aunty Colleen Wall. The Elders in Residence signed off on the work and confirmed its success post-production. 
  • Verbatim feedback from First Nations community was extremely strong and positive.


Drive social change and strengthen communities

  • The Good Room and Digi Youth Arts created a website where the public could ask questions. This process was done to help create the content of COOKED. Everything in COOKED is inspired by these questions 


Learnings and reflections

As a devised work, the creative process of COOKED was in a constant and ongoing process of evaluation, feedback and integration of this information into the work.

The young Indigenous artists involved in the performance, engaged in giving feedback during the Creative Development phase. They were encouraged to give creative feedback and the narrative of the show was influenced by their voice.

COOKED was the first production assignment for two new staff members. Leading the production provided an incredible learning experience for both of them and has enabled them the experience and knowledge to continue handling projects of a large scale.




'I have loved working on COOKED. Collaborating and performing with other young indigenous artists has been an incredible experience so far. I’m excited to make my people and community proud and be a part of what Is going to be a deadly show.' - Misteria Towler

‘I am really enticed to work with fellow young artists in creating such a significant performance. A performance that gives me and my people a voice. A performance that educates, acknowledges and separates fact from fiction. As the next generation we are responsible for keeping country and culture alive’ - Nicholas Currie-Inns


Tips for others

Our goals were to make our Indigenous youth have a voice, share our true history and have an audience who were entertained. These goals surpassed expectations. All while successfully collaborating with two non-Indigenous organisations.


What next

The success of the season at QPAC resulted in Digi Youth Arts being invited to documenta15 in Kassel, Germany by Uncle Richard Bell. Digi Youth Arts performed COOKED at documenta15 as well as activations at Uncle Richard Bell's Tent Embassy. 

Digi Youth Arts formed a relationship with the documenta15 programming team which may lead to further collaborations.


Find out more

Digi Youth Arts 

The Good Room