Yipirinya School Residency


Yipirinya School, Alice Springs

April 16 - 20, 1990

Yipirinya School is a non-Government Community Controlled Aboriginal School in Alice Springs and caters for Aboriginal Children from a variety of tribal groups around the Central region.

In 1989, the Lajamanu show toured to Alice Springs and was invited to perform at Yipirinya. That performance generated a lot of enthusiasm and interest amongst the students and Indigenous staff. This led to a request for a series of workshops.

Sarah Calver and Tim Newth returned spending one week during April.

The workshops provided outlet for the energy and commitment of the students and was an inspiration for the creative personnel as well as the school staff. Workshops were offered throughout the school: from transition to post-primary. Where possible they fitted in with classes themes and work projects.

The lower Primary worked with the theme of fire: both traditional and contemporary stories. Themes were explored through modern movement and design elements such as red fabric squares. During the week a sequence was developed to “Old Man Fire” which was later shown to the school.

Grades 6 and 7 worked on nature and the environment and were studying frogs. Tapping into this theme, learning was extended through a variety of activities. Their white teacher Kath and assistant teacher Nampijinpa, were extremely supportive of this group and together the class developed a presentation based on the Tidilik story.

The week allowed for a sense of trust, cooperation, and enjoyment to develop amongst the students. This was very positive as there are many differences and aggravations due to the students coming from many different tribal groups. Alice Springs has many social problems confronting Indigenous children such as living in the riverbeds and town camps, alcohol, loss of contact with family groups on communities, distance from ceremonial activities. The staff at Yipirinya were constantly dealing with this while trying to provide a stimulating learning environment. Staff gained valuable insights into how learning through movement can be beneficial and stimulating. They saw how the students came together over a short period of time by working on arts based activities.

We returned to the school later in the year with the New Ways Old Ways tour and ran further movement and acrobatic workshops. The development of the students in their ability to join in and come forward was most evident since the April residency.

[A further residency leading to the creation of a performance took place in 1992 - From Little Things Big Things Grow.]

Creative Personnel

Sarah Calver, Tim Newth


School classes: Transition, Warlpiri Class, Central Arrernte Class, Western Arrernte Class, Luritja Class, Post Primary Boys, Post Primary Girls


Dance Development Office: Sarah Calver

[Under Brown’s Mart Community Arts – Executive Officer Ken Conway]

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