Indigenous theatre has had a significant impact on Australia’s changing understanding of its own cultural history since the 1970s with playwrights like Robert Merrit and Western Australian playwrights Jack Davis and Sally Morgan bridging black and white understanding with powerful emotional stories. Today with companies like Yirra Yaakin creating contemporary stories that are owned, created, directed and performed by Noongar peoples, this impact continues to grow.
In the context of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders (ATSI) arts and culture, drama productions by or featuring Indigenous artists and/or content can provide students and whole school communities with a different perspective and broaden everyone’s understanding of ATSI histories
and culture.
“Drama was the only subject I could connect with in high school. Well, that and English. And both gave me great satisfaction and enjoyment. The more I performed, the more I began to fall in love with performing. A teacher gave me a booklet that outlined all the university courses that focused on a degree in the performing arts. As soon as that information fell into my lap I knew what I wanted to do.” Deborah Mailman (award-winning Australian actor), ‘Inspirational Stories.’

Western Australian based theatre companies and performer agencies:

National theatre companies:


What's On:

  • Sista Girl - Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company. Sista Girl is an exploration of the relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians, via the story of two women who share a white father. 9-19 August, Subiaco Arts Centre.
  • Culture 2.0 - Respect Yourself, Respect Your Culture. Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company's program aims to engage and encourage students to explore and discuss their ideas about 'what culture means to them' through a framework of theatre workshops with the potential to create a performance-based outcome. For more information visit the company's website at  https://yirrayaakin.com.au 
    2017 Metropolitan Perth tour/school incursion dates: 13-30 June; 5-22 September; 7-24 November.
  • Boodjar Kaatijin - Metro and regional Western Australian tour 2017, Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company. Boodja Kaatijin is the third instalment of the successful Kaatijin series of new works created for younger audiences. The production incorporates puppets, masks and live music with storytelling to share Noongar understanding of the the Earth and country. Metropolitan Perth tour/school incursion dates: 1-19 May; Kalgoorlie 22-28 May; Albany 29-4 June; Geraldton 6-11 June. Contact Education Officer Jess Gatt at education@yirrayaakin.com.au for further information or to book.

Drama/theatre education resources:

To find out more about the arts education events linked to the arts subject Drama, visit our What’s On page.
Professional teachers association list.
Artist-in-Residence case studies incorporating Aboriginal student engagement in Drama or ATSI arts or cultural content include North Fremantle Primary School,  Yule Brook College and Bayulu Remote Community School.
Actors, theatre/performance companies or drama or stage craft tutors interested in developing programs for schools, visit Working in the School Context for tips about project planning, creating education resources and professional learning opportunities for teachers, and marketing to schools.
Invite an ATSI artist or organisation to be artists-in-residence in your school; check funding providers here.

Warning. Information in this section of the ArtsEdge website may contain the names, images or recordings of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people now deceased. The ArtsEdge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and culture in education portal may also contain links to sites that may use images and/or recordings of Aboriginal and Islander people now deceased. Artists or educators researching Indigenous content for educational purposes should use their discretion when viewing online content.

Details about artists and organisations outside the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries do not constitute an endorsement of those artists or organisations or their programs, products or services. School communities are responsible for making their own assessment of these artists or organisations in accordance with relevant Department of Education policies, procedures and guidelines. Users should seek professional and specialised advice for their individual situations.