Bindjareb Pinjarra

Black Swan's Maali Festival celebrates the oldest living cultures on Earth

Last Updated: 11 Jun 2021
Elise Anthony

Black Swan State Theatre Company presents Maali Festival, a celebration of the oldest living cultures on Earth, taking place July 24. 

'Maali' is Nyoongar for 'black swan' and is an act of celebration, community and gathering. In line with this theme, the festival program encompasses theatre, music, dance, a community dinner, film, photography, live art and other family-friendly activities.

Maali Festival

Due to the recent COVID-19 lockdown, the festival has now been rescheduled over one full day of celebration on Saturday, Jul 24. The event will open with a Welcome to Country followed by a Smoking Ceremony travelling from the State Theatre Centre to the Perth Cultural Centre honouring ancestors, cleansing and reclaiming space before exploding into a big dance ceremony - Nyumbi.

One of the highlights of the festival is a High Tea with Elders which will offer a limited number of people a direct audience with the City of Perth Elders Advisory Group as they share their personal stories and vast cultural knowledge.

Bilya Kaatijin Actor Chace Poland Bilya Kaatijin

The festival’s theatre program includes the matinee (2pm) and evening performance (7.30pm) of York, a West Australian ghost story inspired by 200 years of real accounts. There will also be a return of the ground-breaking and longest-running West Australian play Bindjareb Pinjarra together with Bilya Kaatijin by Zac James, which teaches us about the importance of water to First Nations people around the world. Finally, from the voice of award-winning playwright Meyne Wyatt (Wongutha-Yamatji), Maali will showcase a play reading of City of Gold along with Brothers Wreck by Jada Alberts, a confronting and honest exploration of grief and loss.

Maali Festival is being headlined by rapper Ziggy Ramo and R& B/soul singer Miiesha, with local acts by singer/songwriter Phil Walleystack, beat creator Boox Kid and hip hop artist Flewnt. The music acts will be broadcast live from the State Theatre Courtyard over Noongar Radio offering audiences and fans that can’t make the event the opportunity to tune in and enjoy the celebration.

The Coolbaroo Club Short Film The Coolbaroo Club

Enjoy screenings of The Coolbaroo Club, a documentary about the famous locally run Aboriginal dance club and the powerful short film Wirun featuring Ebony McGuire (Cloudstreet) as a young Aboriginal girl who digs deep with her high school drama performance of a Shakespearean sonnet.

Rounding the festival off will be a traditional cook-up, in which the community can come together in the most universal of ways sharing a yarn and connecting with others over dinner.

Open, inclusive and accessible for all, the festival aims to bring people, specifically those of the First Nations, together to celebrate the incredible breadth, diversity and resilience of the world’s oldest living cultures.

Click here to register for Maali Festival events.

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