2016 has been a year of high demand for Wakakirri. As secondary school performances have gained popularity, the Festival has announced plans to make secondary participation nationwide in 2017.

Students from 240 primary and secondary schools across Australia created Story Dances for the largest performing arts event in the country in 2016, performing their Story Dances in professional theatres in front of a Wakakirri panel of entertainment industry judges.

Primary schools in all states have been participating in Wakakirri since 1992, with secondary school entries limited to NSW and Vic. In 2017 this will expand to ACT, Qld, SA and WA.

Festival Director Adam Loxley has been excited by the creative performances from secondary students this year.

“Being innovative and creative are the skills needed to be successful in life beyond school, which is really a part of the Wakakirri vision for our secondary students,” Loxley said

Awards nights have completed, with 80 schools making it through to the final performances running across August and September thirty-one are now being considered for the national award, Wakakirri Story of the Year.

Wakakirri has grown by 33 per cent over the last three years which the organisers attribute to student engagement. As 2016 festival ambassador Justine Clarke says, “self-expression is vital at any time in your life but especially at school.”

2017 will be the 25th anniversary for Wakakirri and will see a new emphasis on The People’s Choice voting. This year audiences engaged with the People’s Choice voting online with over 30,000 ‘shares’ and ‘likes’ of performance videos.