Our Story

 “…Yirra Yaakin is my favourite theatre Company anywhere.”

(John Kinsella, The Australian)

 

Yirra Yaakin (Yir-raarh Yaarh-kin] which means “Stand Tall” in Noongar language, is one of Australia’s leading Aboriginal performing arts organisations producing award-winning, world-class theatre that is exciting, entertaining, educational, authentic and culturally appropriate.

Established in 1993, the Year of Indigenous People, as Yirra Yaakin Noongar Theatre, we started off with one successful funding application, three staff members and the desire to provide the Aboriginal community with an artistic outlet for positive self-determination.

More than twenty three years later, Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company, with a combined board and staff of 18, has evolved into a respected cultural leader and artistic hub for Aboriginal people from all over Western Australia, Australia, and indeed, around the world.

Our stories have reached 13 countries in five continents and we have won awards for our theatre, governance and our partnerships, including a prestigious Sidney Myer Award for our record of facilitating Indigenous artistic programs.

The company has commissioned and premiered over 50 new theatre works. These include major Festival presentations such as Waltzing the Wilarra, One day in 67, Aliwah, Windmill Baby, and Cruel Wild Woman. Prominent Aboriginal writers have included Dallas Winmar, Mitch Torres, David Milroy, Sally Morgan and Derek Nannup, amongst many others who have contributed to the Yirra Yaakin experience.

Yirra Yaakin is proud to have produced a body of work unequalled in innovation, excellence and cultural significance. However, it’s not just our professional performance program that has won us awards and critical acclaim. Yirra Yaakin has always had a broad education and community engagement program with a development base to ensure we continue to have Indigenous trainees working within the Australian theatre industry. Yirra Yaakin’s priority is to ensure Aboriginal theatre remains under Aboriginal control and keeps providing opportunities for Aboriginal artists at all levels of theatre creation and production.


Our Most Recent Successes include:

2015 King Hit Best Production / Performing Arts WA Awards

2015 The GIANTS - Perth International Arts Festival / Creative Direction Indigenous Component

IALARU:A Celebration - 21st Birthday Event - Chevron Gardens, Exhibition - WA Museum, Publication - Currency Press 

2013 Creative Partnerships Australia Awards - Woodside Better Business Award - State & National Winners

Artistic Director, Kyle J Morrison winning the 2013 NAIDOC Perth Award for Outstanding Achievement 

The first ever Aboriginal company to translate and perform Shakespeare Sonnets in an Aboriginal language (Noongar) and performance on the Historic Globe Theatre Stage in London as part of the UK Cultural Olympiad in 2012 

First Aboriginal-led Company to produce a major musical theatre production Waltzing the Wilarra by David Milroy, a World Premiere at the 2011 Perth International Arts Festival, and:

Finalist for 3 Helpmann Awards, including Best Original Score

Finalist in 9 WA Equity Guild Awards and winning 3, including Best New Play

Finalist in the Premier’s Literary Awards

First ever “living” Community Cultural Partnership in Australia with the Western Australian Museum

First time production in 2012 at the Sydney Opera House, Honey Spot by Jack Davis

Presentation of Good Lovin’ by David Milroy, an important community work supporting the sharing of positive Sexual Health messages, free to communities Statewide from 2009 to 2012

 

“Twas moving and moorditj. Very proud of you all..go get em..”

        (Mary Jones Mondo)