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Yellamundie Festival Looks for Aboriginal Stories

Aspiring Aboriginal playwrights have until Wednesday, 4 February to apply to have their work considered for the second Yellamundie National Aboriginal and Torres strait Islander Playwriting Festival. Yellamundie is a Dharug word meaning storyteller.

The festival, presented by Mooghalin Performing Arts and Carriageworks, to be held from Monday, 27 July to Saturday, 8 August, celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and culture. An initiative of the National Indigenous Theatre Forum held in Cairns, Queensland in 2010.

Festival artistic director, Frederick Copperwaite said the first festival in 2013 attracted 21 writers from Australian cities, regions and the bush.

Successful playwrights in 2013 were Jada Alberts, David Milroy, Jane Harrison, Jub Clerc, Billy McPherson and Sermsah Bin Saad with themes of the work reflecting the challenges of relationships between older and young Aboriginal Australians; suicide and its impact on family, community and spirituality and tribal traditions within a contemporary Australian landscape.

Six final scripts will be chosen for creative development with a director, dramaturge and actors and will be read to an audience of community, general public and invited industry.

‘The festival provides a rare opportunity for Aboriginal directors, actors and playwrights to work together in Sydney at the one time. It is about Aboriginal stories as told by Aboriginal people.

‘It provides both emerging and established playwrights with a meeting place to have their work developed within a supportive and nurturing artistic and cultural context, showcasing their skill and talent, and gaining access and connection to Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal theatre industry networks,’ Frederick said.

‘Importantly it will give representation on a national level to stories that often are overlooked. Also, this time we want to hear from Torres Strait Islander playwrights.’

He said he was aware of one emerging playwright from Dubbo who is aiming to submit a script. Mooghalin recently partnered with Orana Arts, Fire Station Arts Centre, Performing Lines, Playwriting Australia and Eora College for Aboriginal Stories to run ‘Staging Stories‘ in Dubbo. The project involves workshopping and development of a 10 minute play.

Further information and application forms are available from the Moogahlin.