World first: Yirra Yaakin presents Macbeth performed in Noongar

Last Updated: 25 Nov 2019
Localista Team

In a world first, Yirra Yaakin's adaption of Macbeth will be performed entirely in Noongar!

Yirra Yaakin, meaning “Stand Tall” in Noongar, is one of Australia’s leading Aboriginal performing arts organisations, producing award-winning and world-class theatre. Since 1993, the theatre company has been sharing Aboriginal stories, and in 2020 they are teaming up with Bell Shakespeare to bring Hecate to Perth Festival. 

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Performing at Shakespeare's Globe

Yirra Yaakin aims to provide the Aboriginal Community with an artistic outlet for positive self-determination. They have grown to be so widely respected that in 2012, the Globe Theatre invited them to translate some of Shakespeare’s sonnets and perform them in conjunction with the London Olympic Games. 

The sonnets' themes were of love and longing, and in an Aboriginal context, this translated to a longing for equality, freedom and the spirit of the country. In a big win for Australian and Aboriginal culture, this was the first time Shakespeare's work was translated into Noongar, and the first time Aboriginal actors performed on the Globe stage!

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Evolution into the Noongar Shakespeare Project 

The series of performances at London’s Globe Theatre kickstarted Perth’s Noongar Shakespeare Project, a long-term creative endeavour celebrating Noongar culture and language. The following year, Yirra Yaakin opened the Perth International Arts Festival with a Shakespearean sonnet translated into Noongar, a huge pay-off for the project. 

In recent years, the project has proved to be an ever-growing success, with the implementation of a language workshop, ‘Shakespeare’s Sonnets in Noongar’ in local high schools. 

Running alongside this project is the Junior Sonneteers program, introduced to give students the opportunity to work with directors and other senior theatre artists in a professional setting in an effort to keep the Noongar language alive. The two-month program finishes up with a performance showcasing a new idea of contemporary Australian culture.

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Presenting Hecate

Not familiar with Shakespeare’s work? No worries! Here’s a quick blurb to give you a taste of what to expect of Yirra Yaakin's Hecate:

In an Australian first, Shakespeare’s Macbeth is reimagined, set in a Noongar speaking world. Putting a spin on a classic, Hecate is the centrepiece of the show, watching over Macbeth’s demise from a noble man to a traitor, all whilst knowing that the natural order of state over the individual’s greed must be restored.

Hecate Kambarnap

Sadly, in today’s society, the Noongar language is rarely spoken fluently. As language revival is vital to healing and strengthening the community, there will be a special gathering before and after each show to celebrate the Noongar language and people. ’Hecate Kambarnap’, offers a cleansing smoking for those who wish to gather and honour the ancient Noongar sounds, stories and speakers.

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Key Information about Hecate 

Venue: Subiaco Arts Centre

Dates: Wednesday 5th February - Saturday 16th 2020

Times: Tue - Fri 7.30pm | Sat 15th Feb 2pm & 7:30pm | Sun 6pm 

Duration: 90 mins 

Post Show Q&A: Tue 11 Feb 

Tickets: $69.00 - get tickets HERE

Eligible: for ages 3+

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