Students Grow First Ever Theatre Style Performance


More than 50 Yirrkala School students and teachers performed in a theatre production of the Yolngu creation story ‘Yawulngura’ at the Arts Centre last night.

Corrugated Iron Youth Arts worked with students, the community and cultural advisers on the bilingual performance, which included theatre, dance, and a mix of traditional music.

Yirrkala School co-principal, Merrkiyawuy Ganambarr-Stubbs, said the story of Yawulngura was used as a text by last year’s secondary students to explore a range of life lessons and traditional knowledge.

“This story comes from the Djapu and Galpu tribes and is about a Galpu man who embarks on a lifelong journey of discovery,” she said.

“It talks about time, space, travel and the stars, and celebrates Yolngu knowledge of all the animals and plants so there is a lot for students to explore.”

Merrke said through participating in the performance the students learned teamwork, experienced personal development and growth, and forged strong bonds with each other.

“They just loved it, and this was a great opportunity for them to learn and explore,” she said.

“Through the drama and the play I have watched the children grow, and find a different type of happiness.

“They’ve supported each other, and through this they are learning about each other, becoming friends and trusting each other.”

The performance was part of the Yirrkala Dhäwu project, a two-year collaboration between the Yirrkala School, Corrugated Iron Youth Arts, Baku-Larrngggay Mulka Arts Centre, and co-directors Sarah Hope and Bannapuy Gananbarr, whose efforts are gratefully acknowledged.

An animated e-book of the story is being developed and will be released online in both English and Gumatj later this year.


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