Welcome to Wakakirri!

Great stories can open hearts and minds and inspire change. Wakakirri is a Story Dance festival where schools aim to do just that!

Wakakirri is Australia’s Largest Performing Arts Event for Schools with separate events for Primary, Secondary and Dance schools. Each year schools across Australia create Story Dances for Wakakirri that reflect student’s 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’.

Wakakirri is for EVERY and ANY school in Australia. Getting your school involved in Wakakirri is easy. Schools can simply create their own work or use the Wakakirri Best Start Program if they feel they need help.

Fast Facts

About Wakakirri

  • Great stories can open hearts and minds and inspire change. Wakakirri is a Story Dance festival where schools aim to do just that!
  • Each year hundreds of schools across Australia create Story Dances for Wakakirri that reflect student’s 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’.
  • Performing in Wakakirri is an experience students never forget. Schools spend Show Day rehearsing and meeting other schools and that same night walk the Red Carpet with the Panel Reps and perform live on stage. Every school’s Story is filmed for Wakakirri TV as part of the Search for ‘Story of the Year’.
  • Established in 1992, Wakakirri is Australia’s largest Performing Arts Event for schools, involving over 20,000 students across every State and Territory. Over 1 million people watch Wakakirri performances live, online or via Wakakirri TV each year
  • The Aboriginal word Wakakirri means ‘to dance a story’ according to the Wangaaypuwan people from Cobar NSW. It was chosen to give the event a distinctly Australian feel.

What is a Story Dance?

  • A Wakakirri Story Dance is a 3-7 minute performance by a group of students who theatrically tell a story using a combination of dancing, creative movement and acting to pre-recorded music.
  • Schools can tell any story and use any combination of dance, acting, music, sets, props and costumes.
  • The possibilities are endless! You’re invited to incorporate the annual signature item into your story for an extra challenge.
  • Emphasis in Wakakirri is on participation and creativity not expensive and extravagant productions. An emphasis is also placed on creative movement and drama not on technical dance meaning every student can participate.
  • Wakakirri encourages schools to minimise their footprint when creating props and costumes for their performance and offers special awards for schools that excel in this area.
  • Secondary schools are allowed to use projections and live singing.

Primary School Challenge
Secondary School Challenge
National Screen Challenge

“On top of the world…would be our school’s feeling today.”

Can we get help?

  • Schools have the option of creating their own story dance or if your teachers are time poor they can use the Wakakirri Best Start Program (BSP). The Wakakirri BSP is designed for both new and experienced schools and enlists a Wakakirri specialist to come to your school and either take complete control of your Wakakirri production or assist your existing team. Tailored to your needs, a typical BSP program runs for 12 weeks mid year and can be offered as an incursion with a group of students or as a parent opt-in at lunchtime or before/after school.

“We loved Wakakirri but our teachers simply became too busy. The Wakakirri BSP was the perfect solution. We could still be involved but someone else was in charge. We got the same result but without the stress! Thanks!”

How long Does it take? When and where do we perform?

  • Typically, schools rehearse for 12-14 weeks starting in term 2. All rehearsals take place at your school.
  • Wakakirri Show Days are held in term 3.
  • Wakakirri requires one full day out of school for teachers and students for Show Day.  Your school will be required from approx. 12pm to 9.30pm.
  • If your school is successful then you may be invited to perform at Awards Night (Awards nights are only held in limited regions)
  • Your Wakakirri Story Dance can also be performed in dance festivals and end of year concerts.
  •  Wakakirri takes place in most Capital cities and several regional areas around Australia.
  • Click for all dates and venues.

Curriculum outcomes and community engagement

  • Wakakirri is a Story Dance Festival that uses storytelling, the oldest form of learning, as it’s focus for providing innovative educational programs to schools in a manner that resonates with contemporary youth culture
  • Through participation children experience the freedom, intense satisfaction and sense of achievement which comes from knowing that one can create something significant.
  • Our research shows that via the process of creating and performing a Wakakirri story students develop confidence in expressing themselves, self esteem, teamwork and a sense of community.
  • Wakakirri schools often tell stories that are important to their local community and generate a lot of community interest. Participation in Wakakirri creates a multitude of opportunities to build parent engagement and community pride.
  • Parents can be involved in building sets, props, costumes, helping with rehearsals or helping on performance day. Find out more

“I could almost burst with pride in our students. They gave their best! We have lots of responses from the kids. All round it was a very positive experience. One saying that it was the best 14 minutes of her life!”

What does Wakakirri cost?

  • If a school decides to create their Wakakirri Story Dance then student fees are Primary Schools $20 per student. Secondary schools $30 per student.
  • Additional costs depend on what your school decides to spend on props and costumes and transport to the venue. By watching the Wakakirri video tutorials you can learn how to keep these costs to a minimum.
  • If a school opts for a Best Start Program, costs start at $3 per student (50 students) per week for a 10 week program. This includes a Wakakirri specialist coming to your school to run weekly rehearsals and facilitate the creation of your choreography and music soundtrack. They will even escort your school to Show Day.
  • Subsidies on student fees and scholarships are available for schools in disadvantaged communities.
  • Parents and School Community can buy tickets to watch the show. Tickets cost $34 – $40.

Special information for Secondary schools, Dance Schools and schools in remote areas

  • The Wakakirri Secondary School Challenge is an opportunity for students to explore career pathways in Performing and Creative Arts, Design, and Event Management. Secondary Students participating in Wakakirri can also earn a Certificate 2 in Dance. At the beginning of the rehearsal process, representatives from every participating school attend ‘Careers Day’ workshops (Note: Currently Careers Day is run in Victoria only) run by Industry Professionals where students learn what it takes to produce a Professional Event. Ongoing consultation is available via the Wakakirri Mentor program.
  • Created for schools in regional and remote areas, the Wakakirri Screen Challenge allows schools to take their performance to another level by taking it off the stage and onto the screen. Film your Story Dance in different locations and/or use animation and/or special effects during the editing process to enhance the telling of your story. The end result should look a like a music video clip with a strong storyline.
  • Created for dance schools and community groups who love the Story Dance format, Wakakirri Dance School Challenge  is the ultimate event for those who take their Story Dancing seriously.

Get Involved!

Take the first step. Contact our friendly team and let us guide you through the best way for your school to get involved.