Early Program Announcement

YIRRAMBOI Festival, Melbourne’s premier First Peoples multi-genre arts and cultural festival, will embrace the city from 2 to 12 May with a rich array of music, dance, theatre, exhibitions, markets, fashion parades and symposiums. Here’s a little taste of what you can expect as part of YIRRAMBOI Festival 2019, with the full program to be announced on 21 March.

In her first year as Creative Director of the festival, Boon Wurrung Woman, Caroline Martin, has programmed 100 plus free and ticketed events spotlighting over 200 First Nations creatives. YIRRAMBOI means ‘tomorrow’ in the shared local languages of the Boon Wurrung and Woi Wurrung peoples, and the program is all about what’s next.

In a programming highlight, emerging Taungurung curator Kate ten Buuren takes over Arts Centre Melbourne’s Hamer Hall with dis rupt, a four-hour long blaktivation of the space by over ten young local First Nations practitioners. In an afternoon of live music, performance and visual arts this new work, which has been made specifically for the venue, responds to the stories of the land on which the Hall rests, the Birrarung and its waterways.

YIRRAMBOI has commissioned four emerging and mid-career First Nations practitioners based in Victoria to develop and showcase their work known as the KIN Commissions (the Knowledge Industry Network).

Two of these world premiere performances include Joel Bray’s Daddy, presented with Arts House,  a saccharine and at times sinister examination of the colonial condition, his relationship with his father and queer adulthood; and Jack Sheppard’s The Honouring presented at La Mama, a new physical theatre with puppetry work developed around themes of suicide and its knock-on effect on First Nations communities. The other two commissions will be announced with the full program on 21 March.

More programming highlights:

  • 2019 has been declared the International Year of Indigenous Languages and in honour of this significant declaration the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages (VACL) and YIRRAMBOI Festival will present a number of forums and workshops.
  • YIRRAMBOI has teamed up with the Melbourne Recital Centre to present the outstanding works of two First Nations musicians.
    • Modern transgender Hawaiian First Nations musician Kaumakaiwa Kanaka’ole draws on ancestral memory and hula practice, engaging indigenous thought to address today’s issues; and
    • Lydia Fairhall pairs her much loved sound and stories with the Black She Oaks.
  • In partnership with Arts House, Choreographer Vicki Van Hout will deliver the plenty serious TALK TALK – her sharp and witty dance theatre work that weaves in threads of stand-up, visual art practice, multimedia work and performance.
  • In a special one night only performance at Arts Centre Melbourne, the founding members of Yothu Yindi, Witiyana Marika, Stu Kellaway and Kevin Malngay Yunupingu are joined on stage by the next generation of First Nations stars in an electronica-driven formation, combining music, song and dance for a powerful protest call for Treaty.

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