In a world first, Yirra Yaakin’s adaption of Macbeth will be performed entirely in Noongar!

Yirra Yaakin, meaning “Stand Tall” in Noongar, is one of Australia’s leading Aboriginal performing arts organisations, producing award-winning and world-class theatre. Since 1993, the theatre company has been sharing Aboriginal stories, and in 2020 they are teaming up with Bell Shakespeare to bring Hecate to Perth Festival. 

Performing at Shakespeare’s Globe

Yirra Yaakin aims to provide the Aboriginal Community with an artistic outlet for positive self-determination. They have grown to be so widely respected that in 2012, the Globe Theatre invited them to translate some of Shakespeare’s sonnets and perform them in conjunction with the London Olympic Games. 

The sonnets’ themes were of love and longing, and in an Aboriginal context, this translated to a longing for equality, freedom and the spirit of the country. In a big win for Australian and Aboriginal culture, this was the first time Shakespeare’s work was translated into Noongar, and the first time Aboriginal actors performed on the Globe stage!

Evolution into the Noongar Shakespeare Project 

The series of performances at London’s Globe Theatre kickstarted Perth’s Noongar Shakespeare Project, a long-term creative endeavour celebrating Noongar culture and language. The following year, Yirra Yaakin opened the Perth International Arts Festival with a Shakespearean sonnet translated into Noongar, a huge pay-off for the project. 

In recent years, the project has proved to be an ever-growing success, with the implementation of a language workshop, ‘Shakespeare’s Sonnets in Noongar’ in local high schools. 

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