Yirra Yaakin’s eagerly anticipated alternative production of Shakespeare’s Macbeth is set to kick off on February 5 as part of Perth Festival. In a world-first, Hecate: Queen of the Witches will be performed entirely in Noongar.

The ground-breaking play retells the tale of Macbeth from the perspective of Hecate, leader of the three witches. Usually omitted from productions, Yirra Yaakin’s adaptation makes Hecate the focal point of the story, watching as Macbeth strives for power at any cost.

Co-presented with Bell Shakespeare, and directed by Indigenous actress, writer and theatre director Kylie Bracknell, the play will be performed at Subiaco Arts Centre from Feb 5 to Feb 16 by Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company. An Indigenous theatre company based in the heart of the Noongar nation, Yirra Yaakin’s members are the driving forces behind the production. Here are some of the key players.

Hecate: Della Rae Morrison

A Bibbulmun woman of the Noongar Nation of the South West of Western Australia, Della Rae Morrison is the star of the show, playing Hecate, the Queen of the Witches. A seasoned performer, Della has been acting for 30 years, beginning her career in Jimmy Chi’s renowned musical Bran Nue Day in 1989.

Often omitted from productions of Macbeth, Hecate’s character is at the heart of everything in this play. This story is hers and we see her strength as she represents the matriarchal energy of boodjar and life.

Macbeth: Maitland Schnaars

Actor, poet and playwright Maitland Schnaars is one of Western Australia’s leading contemporary theatre artists. Maitland will play the iconic roll of Macbeth. Working across dance, multi-media and music, Maitland has performed and created works on both national and international stages.

A brave soldier and a powerful man, but easily tempted by his consuming ambition, Macbeth is lured down a path of destruction, revealing the devastation power can wreak on community and country.

Lady Macbeth: Bobbi Jean Henry

Having recently made her return to stage last year in Yirra Yaakin’s production of Cracked, theatre and film actress Bobbi Jean Henry is Lady Macbeth. During her time on the stage, Bobbi has worked with various theatre companies including Yirra Yaakin and Black Swan State Theatre Company. She has also worked with the Australian Children’s Television Foundation and has appeared in various film and television roles including the character of Pearl in the award-winning short film Pilbara Pearl.

Stronger, more ruthless and more ambitious than her husband, Lady Macbeth is one of Shakespeare’s most infamous female characters. Through her intense desire for power she challenges traditional gender norms as she propels Macbeth to his ultimate downfall.

King Duncan: Trevor Ryan

Perth based performing artist Trevor Ryan has been a part of The Noongar Shakespeare Project since its beginnings in 2012, where he, director Kylie Bracknell and fellow actor Kyle J Morrison, performed Shakespeare’s Sonnets in Noongar as part of The Globe Theatre’s Cultural Olympiad in London.

Drawing from his inner strengths and beliefs as an Aboriginal Noongar / Yamatji man, Trevor creates interesting and challenging characters. He has a long history of working across theatre, film, tv, dance and radio, most recently playing the role of Baz in The Heights. As a member of the Wadumbah Aboriginal Dance Group, Trevor performed before the Queen upon her arrival in Perth, and at the opening of CHOGM 2011.

As King of Scotland, Duncan is a gracious and gentle man who is fair to his people and wants best for his kingdom. Standing between Macbeth and the throne, however, Duncan finds himself falling victim to Macbeth’s destruction.

Lennox: Kyle J Morrison

A proud Yamatji/Noongar man, Kyle has been working in the theatre industry in Western Australia for over 25 years and was the Artistic Director of Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company from 2009 until 2019. It was during this time that the idea of Hecate was born.

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