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Song for the Martuwarra

Song for the Martuwarra

Song for the Martuwarra is an extremely beautiful puppetry work suitable for all ages.  It an exciting example of inclusive theatre where it can engage and work with the community on a number of entry levels from: puppetry and science workshops with children, those children have the opportunity to participate in the show. It can feature river stories from local rivers where the performance will take place. It can be easily redesigned to be a site specific – community performance. Alternatively the performance can stand alone.   

  A ceremony in 2014 exchanging river water from each river by elders of the Indigenous Nyikina people from the Fitzroy Valley in Western Australia and the elders of the French Ardennes was the impetus for “Ngalyak and the Flood” and this project to develop further understanding of the universal importance of both river health and the art of storytelling to connect with our natural environments.

Song for the Martuwarra tells part of the story from the Warloongarriy  Law Songline.  Woonyoomboo the first ancestor, who long, long ago in the beginning of time, went searching for food and water and travelled between living water billabongs.  Woonyooomboo was responsible for causing two giant serpents to escape from one of the billabongs, which carved a river and split it into two, forming parts of the landscape along the Martuwarra – Fitzroy River. He calls everyone to come to the river and to know how important it is to value, respect and protect the river.    

 Nyikina people believe that the rainbow serpents still live in the river.  The serpents are named Yoongoorrookoo.  When people behave disrespectfully, Yoongoorrookoo can get very angry and may drown somebody or cause a flood. Yoongoorookoo and Woonyaoomboo meet another river who is not doing so well.

This cautionary tale pays homage to the way that culture has shaped country and how country shapes culture.

This work compares shared stories and is a potent warning about the importance of caring for country and culture. It encourages us to begin listening to nature again.

Children have helped shape this work. It includes some of their stories that are told beside more ancient ones. “The Song for the Martuwarra” is sung by the children of Broome Primary School in Western Australia.

 This work is available for touring from February 2019



Stage size 5m x 5m Minimum Height 3m (black box)

Masked wing space,

Number of professional performers: 4

Venue supplies: Lighting as per plot, Sound system, projector set, 3 head set mikes, projector

Audience size 150 -200+      Depending on site lines

For more information Please contact: gwendolyn@westnet.com.au

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