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Yirra Yaakin Theatre introduces three captivating new productions in 2024

Rhiannon Clarke -

In the coming months prominent Aboriginal performing arts group, Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company, will be presenting three new productions at Subiaco Arts in 2024. 

Yirra Yaakin, translating to "Stand Tall" in Noongar language, is known for producing top-notch theatre productions that are not only award-winning but also culturally authentic, insightful, and engaging.

Commencing in April, Songbird by Shakara Walley offers an intimate narrative of heartache, redemption, cherished recollections, and enchanting harmonies. 

Songbird by Shakara Walley (Image: Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company)

Songbird narrates the tale of Leon and Brooke, a young couple who went their separate ways after the tragic passing of Brooke's brother, Michael. Growing up together, Michael, Brooke, and Leon were inseparable, their bond unbreakable. 

However, the untimely demise of Michael caused a rift between Brooke and Leon. Now, after a span of five years, Leon yearns to reconnect with Brooke and uncover the truth behind Michael's death. 

In July, prepare to be deeply moved by Jada Albert's creation, Brothers Wreck.

Jada Albert's Brothers Wreck. (Image: Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company) 

Ruben awakens to discover that his cousin has taken their own life on a scorching morning in Darwin. The narrative that ensues revolves around a family that has endured numerous tragedies, yet manages to remain united – a tradition that has been passed down through the generations. 

This production prompts us to contemplate: how do we cope with loss? And how many individuals are necessary for each of us to carry on with life? Gradually, Ruben's family guides him away from the brink.

Finally, in October, brace yourself for a rollercoaster of emotions with Bruce Denny's Operation Boomerang, which concludes the 2024 season.

The inspiration stems from the playwright's firsthand encounter with placing elderly relatives in aged care facilities, along with a role play emphasising the significance of returning to one's Country for Aboriginal individuals nearing the end of their lives. 

The play delves into the clash between cultural and spiritual requirements and societal norms, as an eccentric Indigenous family endeavours to fulfil their bold matriarch's final desires.

The Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company will also offer three additional events to the list of their 2024 show run. 

Already in production, The Yirra Yaarnz Writers’ Group is a supportive platform fostering the growth of local Aboriginal playwrights at various stages of their careers. 

The program is designed to improve script-writing skills through focused dramaturgy and training. Yirra Yaakin's ultimate goal is to create high-quality works by carefully selecting scripts, offering opportunities for writers to have their creations presented on stage. 

Yirra Yaarnz Writers’ Group workshop sessions are scheduled for the dates and times listed below.

In April Ngalaka Daa Ensemble program focuses on sharing Noongar language and culture, offering participants intensive development in theatre, performance, and language skills at a professional level.

Above: Yirra Yaarnz Writers group, Ngalaka Daa Ensemble and Sista Girl (Image: Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company) 

Successful participants in the program will engage in workshops and rehearsals, leading to public performances. They will receive comprehensive training from industry professionals in various areas, including performance preparation, vocal and movement techniques, Noongar language comprehension, acting styles, and ensemble collaboration. 

The workshops and rehearsals will occur outside of school hours, from April 23 to August 3, 2024. After completing these sessions, participants will have the chance to showcase their talents in a collaborative theatre piece at Hackett Hall in the Western Australian Museum.

Lastly in July, Sista Girl will commence; a humorous, powerful, and heart-warming production that tackles issues as alive and important as they’ve ever been. 

Two young women, strangers yet bound by blood and sorrow, share a hospital room and engage in a challenging dialogue. As they confront the legacy of their mothers and the abandonment by their father, they search for closure and strength to move forward.

Co-written by Alexis West and Elena Carapetis, this play explores themes of identity, loss, and family dynamics, encouraging the audience to reflect on their perceptions of race, gender, and culture.

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