INSPIRATIONAL: Empire Vale and Cabbage Tree Island schoolchildren Jade Tanner, Bobbie Bolt-Anderson, Maureen Galicia and Rico Avery with Wulamanayuwi writer Jason De Santis at the Macadamia Castle on Monday for a puppet-making and performance workshop.
INSPIRATIONAL: Empire Vale and Cabbage Tree Island schoolchildren Jade Tanner, Bobbie Bolt-Anderson, Maureen Galicia and Rico Avery with Wulamanayuwi writer Jason De Santis at the Macadamia Castle on Monday for a puppet-making and performance workshop. Contributed

Students learn to tell stories through puppets

EMPIRE Vale and Cabbage Tree Island public school students were given an inside glimpse into the world of theatre with a puppet-making and performance workshop held by the cast of touring indigenous theatre show Wulamanayuwi.

Wulamanayuwi and the Seven Pamanui is an Aboriginal adventure story inspired by Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, featuring handcrafted puppets, music and culture from Tiwi Island.

During the workshops, cast members talked about Tiwi Island culture before dividing into groups with the children to devise short stories, create puppets and perform their stories to the class.

For Empire Vale student Jade Tanner, 12, the highlight of the day was scriptwriting.

"It's (about) the seven ninjas and it's got flying monkeys and pandas in it," she said.

For Cabbage Tree Island student Bobbie Bolt-Anderson, 11, the highlight of the workshop was making pirate puppets.

"Our story was about pirates looking for treasure, and dinosaurs get in their way and they have to solve a riddle."

Wulamanayuwi and the Seven Pamanui will be on the NORPA stage at the Lismore City Hall today with performances at 11am and 6pm.

Wulamanayuwi writer Jason De Santis said the combination of a traditional European fairytale with the creation characters and stories of Tiwi Islands was his way of expressing reconciliation.

"I think every Aboriginal community has its creation stories, and I think Aboriginal culture now is about being innovative," he said.

"We have to accept the fact that this country has many cultures living in it now, so we have to find ways to make that work for us and where we celebrate that."

The performance has been touring Australia since 2011, performing at every major regional theatre.

Mr De Santis said the show had received excellent reviews and the midday performance in Lismore had already sold out.

"We've sold out the first show which is amazing, 480 seats gone in a flash," he said.


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