Moogahlin Performing Arts, Sydney Festival and Carriageworks will present the 5th biennial Yellamundie Festival in January 2021. The Yellamundie Festival is the only festival in Australia to identify, develop and present new First Peoples stories for stage.
The Yellamundie Festival came out of the 2010 Indigenous Theatre Forum in Cairns. Since 2013 the Festival has showcased new plays, but in 2021 will be expanding, showcasing works through the medium of dance and music.
Creative Director of the Yellamundie Festival Lily Shearer says, “Our people have only been writing plays for about 50 years. Yet we’ve been storytellers since time immemorial through sound, music, song and dance. We’ve been dancing our stories for thousands of years.”
The choice to open the Festival up to music composers and dance choreographers is an exciting and natural step in the Yellamundie Festival’s progression.
From a national call for submissions, six works have been selected to undergo development for the three-day festival. The six ground breaking works will represent the voices and artistry of eight First Peoples storytellers.
In 2021 The Yellamundie Festival features the works of two playwrights, being Sydney based Gumbaynggirr and Wiradjuri woman Dalara Williams and Brisbane based Butchulla and Kabi Kabi man Aidan Rowlingson.
Showcased choreographers include Darkinjung woman Shana O’Brien and Nyikina man Sermsah Bin Saad.
Featured composers are Biripi man Troy John Russell and composing group Mark Ross, Bradley Hardy and Brad Steadman, which will include traditional language, music and animation in storytelling. Shearer says, “It’s not only a great story, and creatively presented but it is also a great cultural resource for mainstream Australia. It will be a great educational tool.”
Many works previously featured in The Yellamundie Festival have gone on to production in Australia. Notable works include Jane Harrison’s The Visitors, performed at Sydney Festival and Jaba Albert’s Brothers Wreck produced at Belvoir St Theatre.
Yellamundie Festival continues to be hosted by Carriageworks in Darlington, but given the circumstances surrounding COVID-19, the Festival has expanded their accessibility to an online platform.
The Yellamundie Festival will run from the 22nd-24th of January 2021 and is the only festival of its kind in Australia, being a First Peoples led platform to showcase First Peoples stories. It presents a diverse representation of works and individuals from across Australia.
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