Braving mud-entrenched roads and the threat of wet season storms, Theatre Kimberley started the 2017 Dragonfly Outreach season in March with an exciting
new project at Yiramalay Studio School on Leopold Downs Station.
Located 40km down an unsealed road near the remote town of Fitzroy Crossing, Yiramalay is a unique location for learning. Originally started as a schooling alternative for local Bunuba students, Yiramalay is a boarding school for Indigenous high school students, from all over the Kimberley and beyond.
An additional partner in the project was the National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA). Two circus arts bachelor students (including Broome’s own Georgia Deguara) and a NICA instructor joined our lead artist Catherine Daniel and local Broome circus artist, Rachel Sawyer.
“The Yiramalay project was a fantastic opportunity to bring some highly skilled artists to a group of remote youth who have very little exposure to the performing arts. By its nature, circus promotes inclusion and team building which is important for youth with all interests and abilities. Many of these youth are so physically talented, and circus arts participation is a way for them to use talents for self expression, “ said TK Artistic Director, Meredith Bell.
The project started towards the end of a very generous wet season, so there were some concerns about the TK team being able to reach our destination even 4WD vehicles. However, the water crossings were low at the right times, and all parties reached this beautiful pastoral destination without incident.
The project began with daily workshops in various circus skills for every member of the local cohort. Approximately 40 students participated, with students able to choose preferred skill areas. During the second week, the students and instructors worked together to shape a multi-act show. In addition to circus, the show included hip hop performance and even a solo violin accompaniment. The Yiramalay cohort performed under stage lighting with the bushland of Leopold Downs Station as a backdrop. It was a great evening of celebration.
Theatre Kimberley would like to thank the WA Department of Culture and the Arts and the Tate Family Foundation for their support of this project. Theatre Kimberley receives core funding from Country Arts WA, which receives funding from the State Government through the Department of Culture and the Arts and Lotterywest.