With no formal arts training and limited confidence in her English skills, Anisa Nandaula found her “spirit and soul moved” after stumbling across video clips of slam poetry online.
“I had never experienced language in such a way that it makes me walk differently, inspires me to speak, talk and think differently,” Anisa says.
“I had never written poetry before but I knew I wanted to make people feel like that.”
Taking her newfound passion and untested talent to the stage, Anisa won the 2016 Queensland Poetry Slam Championships and placed second at the Australian championships.
She has since written a book and a play, toured the country performing at the likes of Sydney Opera House, Splendour in the Grass and Women of the World Festival and co-founded Voices of Colour, an arts collective for migrant, refugee and First Nations artists to share their work.
“When I started out in Brisbane’s poetry sector, it was very lively but it was not diverse at all,” she recalls.
“But after starting Voices of Colour, I have seen hundreds of artists from everywhere coming out of their shell and I see diversity in theatre and poetry.
“Communities create when they know that their voices matter, when they know that the world needs to hear what they have to say.”
It was through Anisa’s advocacy work and the network of fans and friends she’s made in the local arts community that the opportunity arose to make her Brisbane Festival debut in 2020 with her spoken word theatre production, How to Spell Love.
“Regardless of the medium, stories are what bind humanity and build a connection between people.
“Through delivering art, Brisbane Festival has been building this connection in Brisbane and making an impact by sharing the stories of artists with the community.”