Wakakirri Festival Celebrates 30 Years of Stories

Wakakirri Festival Celebrates 30 Years of Stories

Wakakirri is back in 2022 celebrating not only a 30th birthday, but also a major change in direction as it leaves its competition days behind and sets its sights on the next 30 years.

In 1992, Wakakirri was an idea conceived over a coffee between Matthew Samuel and Adam Loxley who were running a small amateur theatre company. The idea was to invigorate the performing arts in Australia by providing the next generation with creative opportunity. Wakakirri was supposed to be a ‘side’ project that would fill time between shows. A few years later the theatre company was gone and Wakakirri had become a national event.

The Wakakirri Story-Dance Festival is a national program for schools that develop student engagement and wellbeing through participation in the performing arts. Schools participate by creating Story-Dances which they perform in live theatres in capital cities and selected regional areas around Australia. Schools in remote and regional areas can participate via Wakakirri Video. Environmental, social, cultural, health, historical, and reconciliation stories are all popular themes.

Each year, hundreds of schools across Australia create and perform Story-Dances for Wakakirri that reflect the students’ thoughts, ideas, and aspirations. Wakakirri is open to Primary and Secondary schools (public and private), Dance Schools, and Community Groups.

Now, after 30 years, 6,500 performances, 1 million students and 2 years of COVID, Wakakirri has arrived at a crossroad. Festival Director Adam Loxley explains, “The momentum for change has been growing for years. Our research shows that participation in Wakakirri builds student engagement, social, and mental wellbeing, enhances connection and belonging, and builds community. We want to foster these elements and felt the focus of competition was no longer relevant. Wakakirri is turning 30 and we thought there was no better way to celebrate this milestone than by evolving into a modern festival for a new era.”

Wakakirri is now a festival that celebrates diversity and puts a spotlight on what schools are saying rather than focusing on who is the best. Wakakirri gives students a voice to creatively share and express their experiences, feelings, values, and attitudes. Every school has a different story to tell and a different way to tell it, plus there are ‘behind the scenes’ stories which can be just as important.

In 2022, Wakakirri will be a festival that encourages schools who exemplify the Wakakirri ethos ‘Great Stories Inspire Change’ including raising awareness, community building, and excellence in performing arts. At the end of the annual Wakakirri season a special guest will be asked to curate a national TV special to showcase performances that captured attention both on and off stage.

Suitably, Wakakirri has chosen ‘RISE’ as its 30th birthday signature motif for 2022. RISE represents optimism and change after the adversity of the last two years.

In 2021, Wakakirri was recognized by the Australian Performing Arts Teachers Association (APATA) for contribution to performing arts education in schools. The ‘Excellence in Performing Arts Education Award’ recognizes an outstanding organization working in performing arts education, providing programs that significantly contribute towards student engagement and participation; developing a love for performance and an understanding of the broader creative process. Wakakirri was selected by the judging committee as the national award winner for their programs, culture, and practice of inspiring teachers and students in their learning and development in the performing arts.

Registration is now open for Wakakirri 2022. This is an incredible way to engage students, and for schools to tell their stories! There are several options to participate. Option one is submitting a Wakakirri video entry. The cost is $200 per entry. During Term 1 and 2, write, perform, film, and submit your entry online for national broadcast. Option two is Wakakirri Live. Cost is $35 per student. You will perform your Story-Dance live in a professional theatre in Term 3. Finally, option three is Artist in Residence. The cost of the basic package is $2,365. You will get an AIR for term 2 and perform in term 3 or enter by video.

Visit https://www.wakakirri.com/get-involved/ to register and be a part of Wakakirri 2022!