5 reasons why you need to see Spirits of the Red Sand

Want to connect to Australia’s Indigenous culture on your visit to Brisbane or the Gold Coast?

Journey from the Dreamtime to 1800s Australia with Spirits of the Red Sand. It’s an innovative, genre-defying cultural theatre show – and it’s like nothing you’ve ever experienced before.

Based on true Aboriginal and Colonial events that occurred at the turn of the twentieth century, this is an immersive and emotionally raw piece of theatre that deals with weighty themes in a sensitive yet unflinching way.

Part historical reenactment, part gritty docudrama, here’s five reasons to add Spirits of the Red Sand to your bucket-list.

1. It’s history, but not as you know it


Whether you’re a born-and-bred Aussie or just visiting, you’ll learn something new here.

Spirits of the Red Sand tells the story of the clash of cultures that occurred when Australia was colonised in the 1800s.

Western settlers claimed Aboriginal lands as their own, depriving Aboriginal people of their traditional hunting grounds. Forced to either starve or become dependent on the settlers for survival, Aboriginal people were on the verge of becoming, as one cast member puts it, “lost in their own land”.

This tragic historical narrative is retold through a fictional lens, chronicling the tale of three Aboriginal brothers who have opposing ideas about how to deal with the colonial threat.

You’ll get a personal sense of how Aboriginal families were affected – and torn apart – by these events.

2. It’s rewriting the rules on immersive theatre


You won’t find any cardboard sets or painted backdrops here. In fact, you’re at the heart of the action in this interactive show.

It’s set in the grounds of Beenleigh Historical Village, a replica colonial-era Australian village complete with a 19th-century wooden church and traditional schoolhouse.

Watch the story take shape all around you as you’re led on a journey through the open-air performance spaces over seven different chapters.

3. Getting there couldn’t be easier


Located halfway between Brisbane and the Gold Coast, the venue is about as accessible as it gets.

Driving? Hop on the freeway from either city and you’ll be there within half an hour.

The venue also offers return shuttle transfers from select hotels on the Gold Coast and Brisbane.

4. It’s a feast for all the senses – literally


You’ll get to experience AND taste culture at Spirits of the Red Sand.

After curtain call, pile your plate high at a bush tucker-inspired barbecue feast bursting with unique Indigenous flavours.

What’s on offer? Piping hot damper with dipping oils and wild finger lime and macadamia nut bush dukkah. Tasting skewers of char-grilled kangaroo, emu and crocodile (spoiler: it tastes like chicken). And that’s just the starter.

The char-grilled beef, lamb and chicken (infused with an Indigenous bush rub) are a carnivore’s dream. Sweet tooth? The homemade lemon myrtle cheesecake could give dessert queen Maggie Beer a run for her money.

5. It’ll leave you with a powerful and uplifting message you won’t forget in a hurry

Spirits of the Red Sand retells a confronting period of history that marks the beginning of the end of traditional life for the First Australians. But while the story is a tragic one, the creators are determined to have you leave with a lightness in your step and gratitude in your heart.

At dinner you’ll be joined by the cast, all of whom have ancestors affected by the events retold in the evening’s performance. You’re open to ask them questions for a personal insight into contemporary Aboriginal experience and what it means to be Aboriginal today.

A stirring traditional yuwai (farewell) song and dance performance ends the evening.

Want to learn more about Indigenous Queensland? Here are more ways to connect to culture in Queensland.