Next Step Program

Next Step Program

A training initiative supported by Development Partner Woodside.

As a centre of excellence and leader in the creation, development and presentation of Aboriginal theatre we offer a range of pathways and opportunities to Aboriginal creative artists and art workers to enter the performing arts industry and to succeed in achieving their professional goals. The Next Step Program has evolved into four distinct stages, addressing the need for further training, development and capacity building for Aboriginal theatre workers to engage in the professional theatre sector.

Stage 1

Stage 1 is where new and emerging young performers, writers, directors and arts workers are given the opportunity to be attached to and work on Yirra Yaakin professional productions. This stage is also supported through our close links with the Indigenous Performance Course at Edith Cowan University.

Ebony McGuire, Jess Bridge, Rueben Yorkshire & Chloe Ogilvie (past Next Step participating artists)

Ebony, Jess, Reuben & Chloe were all graduates and emerging performers/creative talent from the Indigenous Performance Course at Edith Cowan University and performed in Kep Kaatijin and the Culture 2.0 | Respect Yourself Respect workshops as part of their introduction to professional theatre productions and workshops at Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company.

Stage 2

Stage 2 operates through the recognition of the potential for Aboriginal creative talent to attempt initial one-off projects with the assistance of the Company in new areas of their creative and performance practice.

Shakara Walley (past Next Step participant)

Shakara is an emerging producer. In 2015, she was part of the Blue Room’s “Season 1”. As part of the Blue Room’s program, Shakara wrote and produced Songbird a new piece of independent Aboriginal theatre that premiered during NAIDOC Week. With support and guidance from Yirra Yaakin and through the Blue Room Theatre co- operative structure, this opportunity further enhanced Shakara’s knowledge and exposure in producing her own independent shows. Assistance was provided via mentoring from experienced practitioners from within the Company and the wider theatre sector. In 2016 Shakra was  elected for an emerging producer initiative with Screenwest.

Stage 3

Stage 3 includes a focused program throughout the year that assists nominated talented individual Aboriginal artists to further develop their skills either within the Company or as attachments to other theatre companies locally or nationally and in the longer term, internationally.

Clo Bullen (past Next Step participant)

Clo was appointed the Assistant Producer at Yirra Yaakin, a role in which she provided valuable support to both the Artistic Director and General Manager in the Company’s various productions & events. She was also involved in all creative development periods during the year, so she gained a wider understanding of the creative and administrative process required to produce a theatre performance.

Ian Wilkes

Ian continues upgrading his skills and adding to his already impressive performance CV by writing and directing Boodjar Kaatijin in 2016. Ian also directed Shakara Walley’s new play, Songbird, for NAIDOC Week & Hobo for Summer Nights, FRINGEWORLD 2016.

Chloe Ogilvie (past Next Step participant)

Chloe is a graduate lighting design student at WAAPA and was employed to design Fever & the Fret in 2015. Chloe is part of the group of next generation Aboriginal arts workers, who the Company will continue to support over the coming years.

The Noongar Shakespeare Language Training Program

This is a unique training opportunity for Yirra Yaakin performers to develop and enhance skills in their understanding and performance of Noongar language. Facilitated by fluent Noongar speaker (and Next Step Alumni) Kylie Farmer, this program provides performers Irma Woods, Ebony McGuire, Ian Wilkes, Maitland Schnaars, Della Rae Morrison, & Karla Hart, amongst others, with ongoing support and training to develop their skills in the workshop facilitation and delivery of Noongar language.

Stage 4

The final stage of The Next Step Program is an Emerging Cultural Leadership Initiative. The focus will be on individual professional development as a leader/facilitator within our diverse communities – locally, regionally and remotely. The selected candidate will also have the opportunity to work alongside our Artistic Director, Kyle J Morrison in undertaking national cultural representation in a range of panels, forums and related events.

Ian Wilkes (past recipient)

Ian joined the company in a capacity where he lead the re-visioning & re-development of the Culture 2.0 | Respect Yourself Respect Your Culture Workshops prior to the South-West region tour of Kep Kaatijin & Culture 2.0. This saw Ian step up into a role that will assist him develop his cultural leadership skills through the program.

For more information on our Next Step program please contact our Partnerships Manager.

Ebony McGuire

Jess Bridge

Rueben Yorkshire

Shakara Walley

Ian Wilkes


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