Wakakirri was recognised by the Australian Performing Arts Teachers Association (APATA) for their contribution to performing arts education in schools at a special presentation at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) in Sydney on Monday, 17th May, 2021.
The ‘Excellence in Performing Arts Education Award’ recognises an outstanding organisation working in performing arts education, providing programs that significantly contribute towards student engagement and participation; developing a love for performance and an understanding of the broader creative process.
Wakakarri was selected by the judging committee as the national award winner for their programs, culture and practice, Wakakirri inspires teachers and students in their learning and development in the performing arts with outstanding leadership.
Wakakirri is a not-for-profit organisation that uses storytelling, the oldest form of learning, as its focus for providing innovative educational programs in a manner that resonates with contemporary youth culture.
Founded in 1992, Wakakirri develops student engagement and wellbeing through the sharing of stories and participation in the performing arts. The Aboriginal word Wakakirri means ‘to dance a story’ according to Wangaaypuwan people of Cobar, NSW.
Wakakirri National Panel member Emma Watkins, AKA Emma Wiggle was delighted to hear the news stating, “The performing arts provide so much for our communities and especially our children. This includes creative and innovative thinking, positive life experiences and a love of performance. Every day Wakakirri practices and demonstrates these values with passion, supporting schools right across the nation.” Emma has served as a National Panel member for Wakakirri for three years in a judging and mentoring capacity.
Wakakirri Festival Director and Founder, Adam Loxley commented, “Everyone on the Wakakirri team is passionate about the performing arts and this award reflects the hard work and dedication they put in every year to make this festival happen. We are very proud of Wakakirri and the difference it makes in students' lives and this award has put a smile on everyone's face.”
The annual APATA National Awards Program launched in 2019 to recognise performing arts educators and the significant role of educators working in the performing arts.
“The high calibre of applications, dedication and passion for each and everyone’s vocation was heartfelt and exceptional. The judging committee have commented on several occasions the outstanding applications received this year have been truly inspiring,” APATA stated in its announcement of the awards.
Wakakirri aims to be an equitable and accessible program for all students in Australia and supports this mission through their Inspiration Fund, providing disadvantaged school communities with the funds to participate and free events for all students and teachers in Australia who are interested in expanding their performing arts capacity. Wakakirri partners include the Victorian Government, Reconciliation Australia and Muffin Break.
Thousands of students will take to the stage again in 2021 when the Wakakirri Live Challenge takes place in theatres across Australia this July to September. Schools can still register to participate in the Wakakirri Video Challenge with entries due in September. Great stories inspire change and great stories are at the heart of Wakakirri’s mission.