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First Nations Arts Celebration Yirramboi Festival Is Back for a Massive 2021 Edition

It returns with a genre-hopping celebration of Indigenous creatives, spanning dance, music, comedy and performance.
By Libby Curran
March 18, 2021
By Libby Curran
March 18, 2021

2020 was especially quiet on the arts and live performance front, but this year's edition of the First Nations Yirramboi Festival is set to make up for lost time. Returning for its third citywide outing in May 2021, the multi-disciplinary festival will dish up a huge program of over 150 different events, celebrating Indigenous arts and culture in a very big way.

The genre-tripping lineup of free and low-cost events is set to descend on venues across the city from Thursday, May 6–Sunday, May 16. And, while the full program won't be dropping for another few weeks, organisers have shared a few of the festival highlights that punters can look forward to.

There's a political cabaret by the Northlands Collective Mob, with A Fight for Survival centred on the well-publicised fight to save Victoria's Northland Secondary College back in the 90s. It stars a diverse cast of talent, including folks who were involved with the school and the case. A further theatre fix comes in the form of Considerable Sexual Licence, a flirty production by Joel Bray (Wiradjuri) exploring the real history of sensuality in Australia — and in a touching celebration of belonging in Maryanne Sam's (Meriam Mer) Coconut Woman.

There'll be laughs aplenty when a roll call of Blak comedic talent takes to the stage for the Deadly Funny Showcase as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, and lots of sparkly thrills as the country's top First Nations drag entertainers battle it out in the Miss First Nation 2021 competition. Rapper Ziggy Ramo will play his debut album Black Thoughts live on the Melbourne Recital Centre stage, while Harley Mann (Wakka Wakka) will deliver a mind-blowing acrobatic performance with the Na Djinang Circus, titled Arterial.

Barring Yanabul 2019

Melburnians can also catch a huge, roving celebration of Blak culture when free, all-day fiesta Barring Yanabul (translating to 'we all walk the path' in Boonwurrung and Woiwurring language) takes over more than 40 pop-up locations throughout the CBD.

Stay tuned for more events to be revealed as the full program is released in the coming weeks.

Yirramboi Festival 2021 runs from May 6–16, at various locations and venues across the city. For more details and to check out the full program once it drops, head to the festival website.

Top images: Miss First Nation; Arterial photographed by Cecil Martin; Kimberly Lovegrove photographed by Jim Lee.

Published on March 18, 2021 by Libby Curran


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