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Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company


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In Noongar language, Yirra Yaakin means “Stand Tall”. It’s an apt name for an Indigenous theatre company based in the heart of the Noongar Nation – a distinct Aboriginal cultural group from the south-west of Western Australia. Yirra Yaakin was born in 1993, the Year of Indigenous People, with three staff members and a desire to provide the Aboriginal community with an artistic outlet for positive self-determination.

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Since then, the theatre company has grown into a respected cultural and artistic hub for Aboriginal people from all over WA and across Australia. Now one of Australia’s leading Aboriginal performing arts organisations, Yirra Yaakin puts Indigenous writers and actors at centre stage. All original works, the company’s productions range from hip h’operas exploring drug use to adaptations of Shakespeare translated into the Noongar language.

Yirra Yaakin has commissioned and premiered more than 50 new major Festival presentations like Waltzing the Wilarra, One day in 67, Aliwah, Windmill Baby, and Cruel Wild Woman. The theatre company has worked with and nurtured prestigious Aboriginal writers including David Milroy, Sally Morgan, Derek Nannup, Mitch Torres and Dallas Winmar, amongst many others.

Yirra Yaakin is proud to produce a body of work unrivalled in innovation, excellence and cultural significance, with award-winning, world-class theatre that brings Aboriginal stories to audiences across the globe.

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Guides

Guides


Panawathi Girl

His Majesty's Theatre is hosting the world premiere of Yirra Yaakin's Panawathi Girl musical composed by David Milroy, this February.

  • Dates:Feb 8-13 2022
  • Time(s):6:00PM/7:30PM
  • Venue:His Majesty's Theatre

Details

  • Event Venue:His Majesty's Theatre
  • Produced By:Perth Festival,Yirra Yaakin
  • Type:Aboriginal
  • Performing Arts:Theatre
  • Hosted By:Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company
  • Ticket Price:$25-$59

Description

Presented by Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company Saddle up for the next big Black musical. Set in a small town in the northwest of Western Australia in the 1960s, Panawathi Girl overflows with wild joy as hippies and cowboys, politicians and protesters fuel an all-singing, all-dancing night of entertainment. Written by David Milroy, the much loved playwright behind Waltzing the Wilarra, and featuring an all-star cast of WA talent, this music-filled journey is brimming with heart and humour. Follow our heroine Molly Chubb from the big smoke back to the small country town of her birth as she searches for her place in the world. Set amidst a time of great political change, this bold new production from Yirra Yaakin will have you questioning if much has changed at all, even as it has you tapping your toes and yearning for more.

Yirra Yaakin Annual Family Picnic

Yirra Yaakin will be holding their annual Family Picnic again in 2022, as part of our partnership with the City of Subiaco.

  • Dates:Mar 18
  • Venue:Subiaco Theatre Gardens

Details

  • Produced By:Yirra Yaakin
  • Type:Aboriginal,Community

Description

This is an opportunity to hear a bit more of what Yirra Yaakin have coming up in 2022, experience the world behind contemporary Aboriginal theatre and meet and yarn with the whole Yirra Yaakin family within the Theatre Gardens surrounding the Subiaco Arts Centre, where Yirra Yaakin are a Company-in-Residence.

Regional Writers' Group

Yirra Yaakin’s Regional Writers’ Group will re-engage with local artists to work within their communities and provide training in storytelling and writing skills development.

  • Dates:Apr 4 - 8; Oct 17 - 21

Details

  • Produced By:Yirra Yaakin
  • Type:Aboriginal,Workshops

Description

In 2022, Yirra Yaakin will continue to expand upon what we have learned and continue the Regional Writers’ Group in Geraldton, through a series of workshops and residencies, moving towards a day of play readings. The Regional Writers’ Group exists to provide the same opportunities to regional Aboriginal people as Yirra Yaakin's Metro Writers’ Group program has for years.

Ngalaka Daa Ensemble

2022 will see the continuation of the Ngalaka Daa Ensemble through a collaboration between Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company and WAYTCo.

  • Dates:Apr 27 - Aug 12
  • Venue:WAYTCo, King Street Arts Centre

Details

  • Produced By:Yirra Yaakin
  • Type:Aboriginal,Workshops
  • Ticket Price:Free

Description

Driven by the sharing of Noongar language and culture, the program will provide participants with the opportunity to receive intensive development in theatre making, performance and language skills at a professional level. Successful participants will partake in an intense series of workshops and rehearsals leading to a number of curated public performance opportunities. As a member of the Ngalaka Daa Ensemble, participants will gain access to training with industry leaders including performance preparation, vocal techniques, movement techniques / physicality, Noongar language (comprehension and articulation), acting techniques (various forms and styles), monologues, dialogues and ensemble work, embodiment of text and Noongar physical theatre processes. In addition to providing people with opportunities to participate in the arts, the Ngalaka Daa Ensemble is also an avenue in promoting the sustainability of one of the oldest languages in the world, while promoting cultural awareness and reconciliation, along with a greater sense of connection and understanding of the communities they live in.

Bilya Kaatijin

Bilya Kaatijin (which means Fresh water knowledge in Noongar) is the fourth and final story in Yirra Yaakin’s Kaatijin series.

  • Dates:May to June 2022
  • Venue:Schools across Perth metro and South West region.

Details

  • Produced By:Yirra Yaakin
  • Type:Aboriginal
  • Performing Arts:Theatre
  • Hosted By:Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company

Description

Connecting stories from Noongar land (south-west Western Australia), Wonguktha land (the northern Goldfields), Aotearoa (New Zealand) and the Kikuyu people of Kenya (Africa), the play aims to teach us about the importance of water to First Nations people around the world. Journeying through the globe Koya the frog, Yaakan the turtle and Maali the swan take us through the gnamma holes to learn important lessons that will help save Bilya (fresh water) back on Noongar Boodjar. Through each character’s journey the show teaches its audiences about the importance of accepting others, the power of empathy and the importance of caring for the earth. By interweaving stories of the Bilya from Africa, New Zealand and Wiluna, (countries the writer and the story holders are connected to), it promotes the universal connection we all have to water and the idea that we can all share in these stories. Furthermore, in a society where climate change is destroying our planet, Bilya Kaatijin aims to send a message to its audiences about the importance of caring for our planet and the conservation and protection of our water sources.

Yirra Yaakin Vignette Series

Yirra Yaakin Vignette Series came from the delivery of excellent short scripts developed as part of the Yirra Yaakin Metro Writers’ Group and delivered as public readings at Yirra Yaarnz in 2020 and 2021.

  • Dates:June 2 - July 2 2022
  • Venue:Subiaco Arts Centre

Details

  • Produced By:Yirra Yaakin
  • Type:Aboriginal
  • Performing Arts:Theatre
  • Hosted By:Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company

Description

These are the best scripts of an excellent written outcome for both years. The next step is to champion the writers by providing the opportunity for their scripts to be produced on stage as part of a season of work that is made up of independent artists and arts workers, supported by Yirra Yaakin, supporting pathways and the progression of skills in all roles within Independent Theatre.

Yirra Yaarnz

Yirra Yaarnz 2022 will continue during NAIDOC Week celebrations, with a focus on storytelling, new works, new writers and new voices.

  • Dates:July 8 & 9
  • Venue:WA Museum

Details

  • Produced By:Yirra Yaakin
  • Type:Aboriginal,Community
  • Performing Arts:Theatre
  • Hosted By:Yirra Yaakin

Description

A play reading program developed from selected members of the Yirra Yaakin Writers’ Group, followed by a Q & A session, that will also be live-streamed into selected partner organisations, showcasing the importance of storytelling & playwriting as it relates to Aboriginal culture

Moorditja Wirla Workshops

Developed by Zac James, a Wongi / Yamatji actor and writer, the program is designed for years 9 – 12 Drama students to create short dramatic works around the ideas of culture, identity and belonging.

  • Dates:25 July - 23 September
  • Venue:Multiple Schools

Details

  • Produced By:Yirra Yaakin
  • Type:Aboriginal
  • Performing Arts:Theatre
  • Hosted By:Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company

Description

Moorditj Wirla uses elements of Forum Theatre to empower young people to explore their definitions of culture and where they see themselves in a wider Australian cultural context.

Tjuma Koondarm

Yirra Yaakin is proud to present, a new Primary School Workshop TJUMA KOONDARM – Tell Your Dreams!

  • Dates:Jul 25 - Sep 23

Details

  • Produced By:Yirra Yaakin
  • Type:Aboriginal,Kids,Workshops
  • Hosted By:Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company

Description

Created by Zac James (Kaarla Kaatijin, Bilya Kaatijin, Djinda Kaatijin, Moorditj Wirla) Tjuma Koondarm is a 3 hour specialist workshop aimed at students in years 2 – 6 that focuses on creative writing, performance and devising. Through a series of drama games and exercises, students will explore story, characters, structure and performance techniques that will provide a foundation for the creation of their own stories!

Behind The Scenes Workshop Series

In recognition of the severe lack of First Nations technicians, designers and arts administrators across Australia, Yirra Yaakin are piloting the ‘Behind the Scenes Workshop Series.’

  • Dates:Aug 27; Sept 3, 10 & 17
  • Venue:Subiaco Arts Centre

Details

  • Produced By:Yirra Yaakin
  • Event Venue:Subiaco Arts Centre
  • Type:Aboriginal,Workshops

Description

Over 4 consecutive Saturdays Yirra Yaakin will expose up to 20 workshop participants to industry professionals from all facets of theatre making including Set Design, Lighting, Sound, Workshop (building), Dramaturgy, Producing Directing and Stage Management. The ‘Behind the Scenes Workshop Series’ is for Perth-based First Nations artists of all ages.

Which Way? First Nations Poetry Workshops

Yirra Yaakin hopes to again engage with First Nations emerging or aspiring poets and provide a platform for them to develop their writing and performance poetry skills.

  • Dates:Sep 3, 10, 17 & 24
  • Venue:Via Zoom

Details

  • Produced By:Yirra Yaakin
  • Type:Aboriginal,Workshops

Description

Facilitated by a nationally renowned and celebrated poet, Which Way? First Nations Poetry Workshops will be in its 3rd successful year. Up to 10 participants will learn the tricks of the trade, where to submit and possibly earn a wage from their poetry and how and where to go to create opportunity for themselves as gigging poets.

Moorla-Na Bulla Woola Boolangul

Moorla-Na Bulla Woola Boolangul by Theona Councillor and family is a lyrical, cathartic and community focused work about healing from great grievances of history.

  • Dates:Oct 21-29
  • Venue:Bootenal Springs, Gerladton

Details

  • Produced By:Yirra Yaakin
  • Type:Aboriginal
  • Performing Arts:Theatre
  • Hosted By:Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company

Description

Exploring the impact of the 1854 massacre of the Naagula people at Pelican Springs/Boolangul (colonially known as Bootenal Springs). As an outdoors, community developed work it is of a large scale and incorporates music, traditional dance and text – all in rhyming prose. This show is about engaging with and empowering the Yamatji community to tell their stories and explore ways that everyone in the City of Greater Geraldton can heal as a community. It is a beautiful, lyrical, cultural work written by award winning Musician, Naaguja/ Wardandi/ Bubbulman woman Theona Councillor in cooperation with her cousins and elders.