Registrations for the 2019 Story Dance competition are open now, with 3 April set as the last date for entries.

Wakakirri is Australia’s largest performing arts event for schools with separate events for Primary and Secondary. Each year schools create story dances that reflect students’ thoughts, ideas and aspirations. These stories are performed in professional theatres in front of the official Wakakirri Panel who are searching for ‘Story of the Year’.

The performances are watched and graded by leading performers in Dance and Musial Theatre including Emma Watkins (the Wiggles), Joshua Hornet (Billy Elliot, the Musical) and Jason Coleman (So you think you can dance).

Wakakirri has accredited Wakakirri Facilitators that can come to participating schools once a week for 10–12 weeks and do a lot of the heavy lifting required to get the schools’ Story-Dance on stage. Their support makes participation feasible for schools that do not have a dedicated music/dance teacher on staff. The programs run across Terms 2 and 3 for a Term 3 performance.

Last year, 240 schools performed; popular themes included cyber bullying, the refugee crisis, and the environmental impact of plastic bags.

In New South Wales, Northmead Creative and Performing Arts High School explored the issues currently being faced by Australia’s farming families.

The school’s Northmead’s Wakakirri coordinator Warren Flanagan, an English, Drama and Entertainment teacher, explained that his students learned the true meaning of the term ‘the Aussie battler’ when they sought to tell a story that every Australian can relate to.

“We discovered our Australian climate is very harsh to our farmers and many properties nationally have suffered from the aftermath of extreme weather, with drought being the most severe,” he said.

In Northmead’s performance titled The Farmer Wants a Life, buying a piece of the Aussie dream becomes reality for the Jones. However working on the farm becomes a struggle as rain and drought damage crops. While the Jones lose everything, the Banks make another record profit. Wakakirri’s National Panel representatives called it “a mini musical epic with strong attention to plot, drama and the human spirit”.