Black Swan State Theatre Company Of WA’s Maali Festival Celebrates NAIDOC Week

Published in Arts News  
Electric Fields Electric Fields Image © Colleen Strangways / Nharla Photography

During two days of NAIDOC Week, curators Ian Michael (Wilman Nyoongar) and Chloe Ogilvie (Yamatji Nhanda) are bringing the people of WA a festival reclaiming the State Theatre Centre.


Maali is Nyoongar for the black swan. In an act of celebration, community and gathering, Ian and Chloe have programmed a festival encompassing theatre, music, dance, a community dinner, film, photography, live art, and other family-friendly activities.

The event opens with a Welcome To Country followed by a Smoking Ceremony travelling from the State Theatre Centre to the Perth Cultural Centre which will honour ancestors, cleanse and reclaim space, and explode into a big dance ceremony – Nyumbi. Featuring dance groups including Middar, Wadumbah, Koolangkas Kreate, Kwarbah, Djookian and more.

A highlight of the festival is a High Tea with Elders, offering an audience with the City Of Perth Elders Advisory Group who’ll be sharing personal stories and cultural knowledge.

The theatre programme includes ‘York’ by Ian Michael and Chris Isaacs, a West Australian ghost story inspired by 200 years of real accounts. Then, the return of the ground-breaking ‘Bindjareb Pinjarra’ together with ‘Bilya Kaatijin’ from Zac James, teaching about the importance of water to First Nations people globally.

From the voice of playwright Meyne Wyatt (Wongutha-Yamatji), Maali will showcase a play reading of ‘City Of Gold’ and ‘Brothers Wreck’ by Jada Alberts.

Headlining musically will be electronic duo Electric Fields, rapper Ziggy Rao, R&B and soul singer Miiesha, R&B and pop duo The Merindas, and local acts Phil Walleystack, Boox Kid and Fluent. The musicians will be broadcast live from the State Theatre Courtyard over Noongar Radio.

There will also be screenings of the documentary ‘The Coolbaroo Club’, and short film ‘Wirun’.

Rounding the festival off will be a traditional cook-up.

Maali Festival is on at State Theatre Centre Of WA 9-10 July.

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