Shaun Tan’s praise for Wakakirri’s Story of the Year

Left: Shaun Tan. Right: ‘The Rabbits’.

Wakakirri’s 2018 Secondary Story of the Year winner, Tuggerah Lakes Secondary College Tumbi Umbi Campus, performed an abstract interpretation of the colonisation of Australia inspired by The Rabbits – the iconic picture book authored by John Marsden and illustrated by Shaun Tan.

Shaun Tan was so impressed by the quality of Tumbi Umbi’s performance he sent a special message to the school. Here is his quote in full:

“This is an awesome performance – loved every aspect of it; the lighting, animated elements, costumes, music, and especially the choreography and dancing. At first I was wondering how they could pull off this narrative in seven minutes, but I think it’s done pretty brilliantly by going straight to the core concepts with skilful restraint, and broad enough to have an epic mythological feel about it. Those rabbits are truly terrifying too!

The feeling of bizarre invasion really hits you. And the subtle references to detention were a thought-provoking and elegant metaphor. I’m super impressed that the students themselves did all of this! Amazing. Do pass on my appreciation.”