Yirra Yaakin Writers’ Groups
Yirra Yaakin Writers' Groups
Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company is committed to sharing stories with our community, created by our community, through theatre.
In 2020 we will continue to grow and develop our Metro Writers Group workshops in addition to piloting Playwriting Workshops in Geraldton.
Metro Writers' Group
Yirra Yaakin invites aspiring First Nations playwrights to participate in an intensive playwriting program that guides writers through craft and writing sessions aimed at turning ideas into scripts.
At the culmination of the workshop program, six writers are selected for one-on-one assistance to help them prepare their scripts for a public reading. The new works developed by these members of the Writers Group are read by professional actors at our annual NAIDOC Week event, Yirra Yaarnz.
Geoff Kelso has more than 40 years of experience as an actor, comedian and writer working in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth in theatre, radio, TV and film. Geoff is a co-creator (‘writer’) and performer of Bindjareb Pinjarra, a play about the Pinjarra massacre, which was first performed at The Blue Room Theatre in 1994 and currently still tours around Australia. Geoff graduated from NIDA in 1975, and in 2010 graduated from the WA Screen Academy with a Bachelor of Communications in Film and TV Writing and Directing.
Polly Low began work as an actor in the theatre industry more than 35 years ago. She now also works as a dramaturg, literary advisor, director, lecturer and writer. She is currently the Literary Director at Black Swan State Theatre Company, where she works one-on-one with commissioned writers developing their plays, and also reads and assesses scripts from around the world. Polly first worked with Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company as a workshop leader back in the 1990s and has also worked as a dramaturg for the company.
Hellie Turner is a prolific WA playwright with numerous awards and production credits to her name. She has written for all sectors of the theatre. She was resident playwright for kompany M from 2005 to 2010. Hellie has won the WA Premier’s Book Awards twice (2002 and 2006) and had her work show-cased in both London and New York in recent years. Her most recently produced shows are Anytown (2011), Mad Fred (2013), Meow! (2015 and 2016). Her documentary theatre piece Project Xan was produced at PICA in 2016. Her new play The Lighthouse Girl was performed in May 2017 as part of Black Swan State Theatre Company’s 2017 program.
Zac James is a TO Wongi, Yamatji man. He studied at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, specialising in acting and performance. After several years working as an actor for Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company, he made his playwriting debut as the writer of Kaarla Kaatijin. Zac continued with several other works showcased in the Yirra Yaarnz project. After performing the role of Jampajinpa in the ABC/Netflix TV series 8MMM: Aboriginal Radio and the SBS/NITV series Shadow Trackers he delved into screenwriting. Zac was a recipient of Screen Australia’s Pitch Short Black development program, as well as writing 30 Forum Theatre shows, a mixture of screen and theatre in his role as Co – Ordinator of the Theatrical Response Group. In 2019 he started as Yirra Yaakin’s Associate Artist, co-writing Djinda Kaatijin and Ice Land. During this time he has developed the Moorditj Wirla workshops, facilitating the exploration of culture and the importance of belonging.
The next Writers Group workshop sessions will be held on Saturday mornings and Wednesday evenings, commencing on Saturday 7 March and concluding on Saturday 4 April.
UPDATE: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, workshop sessions were postponed and will now take place over two days, on Saturday 29 August and Saturday 5 September 2020.
Yirra Yaarnz 2020
Yirra Yaarnz 2020 will be held on Friday 10 July & Saturday 11 July at The Blue Room Theatre.
UPDATE: This event was also postponed. NAIDOC Week has now been rescheduled to 8-15 November 2020. Yirra Yaarnz will take place within these dates. Exact dates TBC.
Workshops will be held at the Blue Room Theatre – 53 James St, Perth WA 6000
Playwriting Workshops - Geraldton
Playwriting Workshops – Geraldton
Yirra Yaakin invites aspiring First Nations, Indigenous or Aboriginal writers from the Geraldton community, to develop your professional playwriting skills through a series of playwriting workshops.
The workshops will offer members of the Geraldton community the opportunity to share your stories in the form of a play which may lead to development and production opportunities with Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company.
Sandra Kelly is a graduate of the Diploma of Acting course at WAAPA and a very talented theatre maker, artist and community driven matriarch.
The Regional Writers workshop sessions will be held every Wednesday evening during school terms 1 & 2 for a total of 20 sessions.
Term 1: Wednesday 5 Feb – Wed 8 April
Term 2: Wednesday 29 April – Wed 1 July
UPDATE: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the weekly workshop sessions have been replaced with an intensive one-week masterclass. Masterclass dates: Monday 24 August – Friday 28 August 2020.
Mitchell Street Community Centre – 72 Mitchell St, Spalding, WA, 6530
We rely on you, our community, for our future creative and cultural programs. Your donations, encouragement and friendship provide vital support for the ongoing development of our artists and our work. Help us share Aboriginal stories by becoming a donor today!