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Community Dinners

Darwin Community Arts (DCA) community dinners have expanded since the organisation’s move to Coconut Grove. In November Bagot Community will celebrate its 80th Birthday with a dinner.

By Tamara Howie

Off The Leash had a chat to DCA staff Anna Weekes, Bong Ramilo and Maria Kroes about the successful program.

Tell us a bit about the history of the Community Dinners.
BR: Community Dinners began in around 2009 as part of the Community Benefit Fund Monthly Community Gatherings, which included the dinners, dance parties, gardening and films. The dinners have had long phases when there have been no funding during these time and would rely on volunteers, donations and core funding from DCA.

Where did the idea come from?
BR: The idea came to me when I was watching TV commercials and reading Superbia! 31 Ways to Create Sustainable Neighbourhoods. Community Dinners are an occasion for neighbours to come together over food to socialise and share stories. It’s also a means of understanding a sharing culture. Food is essential to communities, in many cultures food binds communities.
How is the menu decided?
AW: Currently we leave the menu up to the very clever Sandar Tun and her husband Yaqub who cook delicious Asian influenced dishes. In the past My Sisters Kitchen, a food and art program, including women from refugee backgrounds, would create the monthly menu.
Is there a favourite dish that people are always asking for?
MK: Everybody asks for the chicken curry. 
How many people are involved in pulling each night together?
MK: Many performers from the community, four people on cooking, sound and lights, three DCA staff and six volunteers.
How are the new venues going at Bagot Community and Humpty Doo Village Green?
AW: Both of the events brought together many artists and perform-ers new to Community Dinners. The dinner at Bagot had 350 people enjoying great entertainment, food and community. This dinner acknowledges strength and connection in Bagot community.
There were many new faces, performers and vollies at the Humpty Doo Village Green – this was the first rural dinner as part of DCA rural projects.
What would you say to newbies who may not have been before, but are curious?
MK: Come along, meet someone new, and enjoy the creativity of your community. Don’t forget to bring your plate, cup and cutlery.


See the event listing.

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