Big Country Puppets at Yakanarra Community - Nov 2022
Big Country Puppets in Yakanarra Community with the Ngurrarra Rangers and Yakanarra School
As part of the Theatre Kimberley Outreach program, the Big Country Puppets artistic team visited Yakanarra Community, a small remote community in the Fitzroy River Valley.
During their month long visit, lead theatre artist Bernadette Trench-Thiedeman, and theatre artist Eduardo Maher, worked with the Ngurrara Women Rangers, elders Beryl Dickens and Jessie Moora, and students from the school to create a theatre performance using giant puppetry and song.
The Big Country Puppets project draws on the Rangers' knowledge of their Country's ecology. The Rangers choose the project's location and themes for the theatre project.
The Big Country Puppets projects fuse art and science, as well as maintaining a focus on endangered Aboriginal languages within the production process and performance of each theatre show. The script and songs for the Yakanarra project are written in English and Walmajarri, and the songs were co-written rehearsed and performed by students.
A local dreaming story 'Karnanganyja jaa Likjartiwarnti' (The Emu and the Fork Tailed Kites) from Jessie Moora was adapted for performance, and a new theatre script about an endangered skink ' Jilji the Skink' was co-written with the Ngurrara Rangers, who found this skink during a biodiversity survey in 2021. This story also showcases the rangers fire management work through Right way/Wrong way fire work.
The puppets for both of these stories were designed and built with the Rangers, including the Ngurrara Men's Rangers and students from Yakanarra Community school.
A rap song about Jilji the Skink was written in Walmajarri language and in English by Lyrical Instinct (Broome rapper Jacob Gregory) Yakanarra Community school students, with the help of local linguists and language speakers Jessie Moora and Beryl Dickens.
Theatre Kimberley thanks our project partners , Yanunijarra Aboriginal Corporation, Kimberley Language Resource Centre, Environs Kimberley and Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency and to our funders:
Standing Strong Together Act-Belong-Commit Healthway and Indigenous Arts and Languages Fund.
Thanks also to PAKAM - Pilbara and Kimberley Aboriginal Media for filming the show!