Shakespeare on the Noongar Stage: Language Revival and Hecate

Clint Bracknell, Kylie Bracknell

Shakespeare on the Noongar Stage: Language Revival and Hecate
Upswell Publishing
30 April 2024

Shakespeare on the Noongar Stage: Language Revival and Hecate

Clint Bracknell, Kylie Bracknell

The first adaption of a complete Shakespeare play entirely in one Australian Aboriginal language, this books track the passionate project of language recovery and restoration into a highly successful mainstage production.

The play Hecate is a landmark work in both theatre and language restoration. The Noongar language of the southwest of Western Australia is a critically endangered language impacted by settler-colonialism and suppressed until the 1970s. This book contains the complete play, a glossary, and chapters outlining the process of creating and then producing a play onto a professional stage with a Noongar cast working as both language learners and performers, where song became their catalyst to success.

Premiering to critical acclaim in Perth Festival 2020, Hecate is a ground-breaking and audacious adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth in the Noongar language and from a Noongar perspective. The project in its early stages involved the development and presentation of Sonnets in Noongar, a selection of sonnets as part of the World Shakespeare Festival at the Globe Theatre in 2012 in London. The original cast remain poised to take Hecate to the UK and complete the circle.

This dazzling project is brought to life in this short book designed to inspire language recovery and restoration in Australia, in a period when serious attention is being paid to many endangered languages. It demonstrates the power of performance to build community strength.

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