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In May 2019, Theatre Kimberley, and The Shorebird Quest partners - the Broome Bird Observatory (BBO), Parks and Wildlife Services’ Yawuru Rangers, Nyamba Buru Yawuru Country Managers, five Broome schools and the local community - produced one of Theatre Kimberley’s largest collaborative works in 20 years.

The large scale, site-specific musical theatre experience which celebrated the migratory shorebirds of Roebuck Bay was performed to an audience of over 2000 people in the natural amphitheatre of Broome’s Town Beach.

The audience sat captivated as the mudflats at high tide transformed into a stage, and giant illuminated puppets came alive, to an original musical score, telling the story of Curtis the Curlew on his migration journey from Siberia to Broome.

The final show was the culmination of three years of work which began in 2016, as an idea by former BBO Warden Jaime Jackett, to create migratory bird puppets, to draw attention to the need to protect them and Roebuck Bay where they come to feed.

The script was written by a team of 15 co-writers from Parks and Wildlife Services Yawuru Rangers and Yawuru Country Managers.

The giant puppets were made through a series of community workshops, facilitated by expert puppeteers and theatremakers Karen Hethey, and Bernadette Trench –Thiedeman.

At the heart of The Shorebird Quest was the notion of caring for country as a community. As Parks and Wildlife Services’ Yawuru Rangers Jasmyn Cook said in the final line of the show:

“If we look after country, country will look after us.”

And the audience of thousands cheered!

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