Moogahlin Performing Arts Announces Twofold Program For Sydney Festival

Moogahlin Performing Arts Announces Twofold Program For Sydney FestivalMoogahlin Performing Arts has announced six playwrights from around Australia chosen to participate in the biennial Yellamundie National First Peoples Playwriting Festival 2019, and the world premiere of a new play - The Weekend by Henrietta Baird (Kuku Yalanji, Yidinji)* - which had its first reading at Yellamundie 2017. Both Yellamundie and The Weekend will be presented at Carriageworks as part of Sydney Festival in January 2019.

YELLAMUNDIE - NATIONAL FIRST PEOPLES PLAYWRITING FESTIVAL

Yellamundie, a Darug word meaning storyteller, is a celebration of First Peoples cultural arts, discovering, developing and promoting First Peoples new writing for the theatre. This year, for the 4th biennial playwriting festival, Moogahlin received over 20 submissions from a wide range of voices from beginner, mid-career and established playwrights from regional, remote and urban areas and have chosen six playwrights to showcase.

The six playwrights who will participate in Yellamundie 2019 are: Melody Dia, Sonny Dallas Law, Donna McLaren, Ellen van Neerven, Jordy Gregg and Nathan Maynard.

These playwrights will take part in a two-week workshop, working with a director, dramaturg and actors on each of the scripts described below, before they are presented to audiences as a reading over the final three days of Sydney Festival from Thursday 24 - Saturday 26 January 2019.

FIFO - 'Fit In or F**K Off!' by Melody Dia (Nyul Nyul, Kija, Jaru)*

Jono is locked in a Fly In Fly Out (FIFO) gridlock; Mary is wrapped up in a high flying FIFO wife's lifestyle; her sister Janey is locked in her house, sliding into delusion awaiting her FIFO husband's return. Something's gotta give! Will it take a tragedy to stop the slide?'

Eddie by Sonny Dallas Law (Wakka Wakka)*

Murri-boy is guided from childhood to adulthood by his spirit guides. The charismatic Eddie mentors him through life, introducing him to a world of experiences and adventures. Eddie is a coming of age story about an Aboriginal man as he struggles to find his purpose and identity in everyday life.

Dhinawan Burraalga Yaraay by Donna McLaren (Gamilaraay)*

Dhinawan (Emu) and Burraalga (Brolga) are best friends, and mothers, who lose their valued friendship as a result of jealousy and ensuing revenge. The breakdown of their friendship has tragic consequences for themselves and their community, and eventually requires intervention by the highest authority: Bubaabidi, The Creator himself.

Swim by Ellen van Neerven (Yugambeh)*

'E' is 70% water and 30% confused. Freestyle, butterfly, breaststroke, blakstroke ... Swim is a performance poem on Australian swimming, the sovereignty of water and the strength of culture and family in keeping us safe, told by a young queer Murri ready to hit the fast lane at the local pool.

Park Days by Jordy Gregg (Murray)*

Jeffery isn't a young kid anymore, and between getting dirt on his knees and learning about the outside world, he encounters some unlikely friends who change his life forever. Without the law, or parents to get in the way, who knows what will happen.

At What Cost by Nathan Maynard (trawlwooway, palawa)*

Sam, a palawa man is conflicted between looking after his young family and fighting for the rights of his people and country. Sam is becoming increasingly frustrated at the "new palawa's" who seem to be getting more of a voice than grass roots palawa in the media and government.

Yellamundie 2019 will again include its International Program with collaboration, exchange, and script readings with other First Peoples from across the world. Te Rehia Theatre from Auckland, Aotearoa, New Zealand will present Raising the Titanics by Albert Belz and Native Earth Performing Arts from Toronto, Turtle Island, Canada will present This Is How We Got Here by Native Earth Artistic Director Keith Barker. The popular panel discussion Meet the Playwrights will also return offering audiences a chance to meet the six Yellamundie playwrights and learn more about them and their work.

Moogahlin co-Artistic Directors Frederick Copperwaite (Bunuba)*, Lily Shearer (Murrawarri, Ngemba)*, and Dr Liza-Mare Syron (Birripi)* observe that "Since its inception in 2013, Yellamundie has received 83 applications and developed 28 new scripts, with six going on to be produced professionally, including Henrietta Baird's The Weekend, which we are extremely proud to premiere at Sydney Festival. These numbers reflect an important trend emerging gradually across the country: that more and more First People are turning to the theatre as a way to tell their stories."

THE WEEKEND

The Weekend by Henrietta Baird was first developed at Yellamundie in 2017 and will now be brought to the stage as a fully-realised production with the world premiere on Saturday 19 January.

The Weekend by Henrietta Baird (Kuku Yalanji, Yidinji)*

This one-woman play featuring Shakira Clanton (Wongi, Yamatji, Nyoonga, Gitja)* and directed by Moogahlin co-Artistic Director Liza-Mare Syron tells the story of a young Sydney mother who has only the weekend to track down her missing partner. Lara is working interstate as a dancer when she receives a distress call from her youngest son - their father hasn't been seen for days and they are running out of food. Worried and angry Lara returns to Sydney with only the weekend to find him - traversing the world of public housing, drug taking and dealing, and the threat of losing her kids.

Sydney Festival Director Wesley Enoch says, "The Weekend is a funny, heart warming example of how storytelling can shift the way you see the world. Henrietta Baird has captured the characters and spirit of Redfern/Waterloo and created a play that provides insight to the contemporary First Nations experience. Following on from the national success of The Season it is wonderful to see these stories come to fruition. Both these works were first developed through Yellamundie and I applaud the dedication of the Moogahlin team in developing these great new voices telling age old stories."

The Weekend was first developed by Moogahlin Performing Arts through the Yellamundie National First Peoples Playwriting Festival 2017 presented in Sydney Festival at Carriageworks. This development is part of the Carriageworks 2017 In Development Program. Supported by the Australian Government through the Ministry for the Arts' Catalyst - Australian Arts and Culture Fund.

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