As Perth Festival kicked off on February 7, a range of First Nations events, performances and discussions are about to take over WA’s capital city.

This year, Perth Festival’s theme is Karla – a Noongar word meaning fire, Country and home.

Read on for some of the First Nations highlights set to wow during Perth Festival 2020.



Written by Noongar actor and director, Kylie Bracknell [Kaarljilba Kaardn], Hecate is an adaptation of Shakespeare’s much-loved tragedy, Macbeth, only it centres on the witch queen Hecate, who is often omitted from most adaptions of the Scottish play.

Presented by Yirra Yaakin Theatre, Hecate is performed entirely in the Noongar language with no subtitles and no translators. It’s written by Noongar people, for Noongar people.



Bangarra Dance Theatre brings Bennelong to the stage to follow the life of Senior Eora man, Bennelong – one of the most iconic Aboriginal figures in history.

Woollarawarre Bennelong led his fellow community members through a fraught time of culture clash, and Bangarra is set to show this through their unique dancing and soundscapes.



A collaboration between the ILBIJERRI Theatre Company and Te Rēhia Theatre, BLACK TIES follows the story of an Aboriginal and Māori couple’s wedding party, with many a laugh ensured.

The show is an immersive experience, meaning the audience gets to be part of the “biggest, blackest wedding ever” according to the Perth Festival description.



The world-premiere season of Buŋgul will also take place on opening weekend.

Meaning ceremony, Buŋgul invites the audience into the inspiration behind Gurrumul’s final album, Djarrimirri (Child of the Rainbow).

The West Australian Symphony Orchestra (WASO) will collaborate with Yolŋu dancers to put on a beautiful display of culture and music.


Spinifex Gum

A special collaboration that combines popular Australian voices, new Indigenous voices and the sounds of true passion and talent, Spinifex Gum is a celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth.

A careful balance of fresh urban sounds and rhythm paired with strong, unapologetic lyrics, The Cat Empire’s Felix Riebl and Ollie McGill join Marliya, an ensemble of Indigenous teen singers, to show off the essence of the Pilbara’s culture.


Perth Festival runs until March 1. To view more First Nations events and for more information, visit:

By Hannah Cross