live shows across Australia
participating students each year
schools involved
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Great Stories Inspire Change

The Wakakirri Story-Dance Festival is a national program that helps schools develop student engagement and wellbeing through participation in the performing arts.  Schools participate by creating Story-Dances which they perform in live theatres in capital cities and selected regional areas around Australia. Schools in remote and regional areas can participate via Wakakirri Video.

Schools’ performances are inspired by the Wakakirri ethos ‘great stories inspire change’. Environmental, social, cultural, health, historical & reconciliation stories are all popular themes. Each year hundreds of schools across Australia create and perform Story-Dances for Wakakirri that reflect students’ thoughts, ideas and aspirations.

Wakakirri is open to Primary & Secondary schools, Dance schools and Community groups.

Does your school have a story to tell? It’s time to get involved!

About Wakakirri

The Aboriginal word Wakakirri means ‘to dance’. It was chosen to give the festival a uniquely Australian Feel. Created in 1992 Wakakirri is Australia’s largest national performing arts event for schools.

What is a Story-Dance?

A Wakakirri Story-Dance is a 3-7 minute performance by a group of students that theatrically tells a story using a combination of dancing, creative movement and acting to pre-recorded music.

Is there a theme?

Schools can choose to tell any story that they wish. Schools’ performances are often inspired by the Wakakirri ethos ‘great stories inspire change’ and the annual festival signature motif (in 2023 the motif is CHANGE).

Inclusive and accessible

Wakakirri is open to every school (Primary, Secondary, Dance and Community groups) and students with all levels of experience can participate. An emphasis is placed on creative movement and drama rather than technical dance. Emphasis is also placed on creative storytelling and sustainability, not expensive and extravagant productions.

How and when can my school participate?

Schools participate by creating a Story-Dance which they can perform live or send in on video. Wakakirri live festivals and video screenings take place in Term 3 around Australia.  Check out the dates here for Primary Schools, Secondary Schools, or Dance Groups

How can my school create a Story-Dance?

Teachers and students can create a Story-Dance on their own using the Wakakirri online resources OR schools can book a Wakakirri Artist in Residence Program and have a specialist facilitator lead the process. Rehearsals typically take 12 weeks.

Wakakirri is for Every School in Australia

Wellbeing and Mental Health

Researched outcomes include increased confidence, resilience, student engagement, teamwork, pride, friendships, social awareness & cross cultural appreciation. Secondary students can also explore career pathways and develop career aspirations.

What does Wakakirri cost?

Participation fees for Wakakirri Live are $35 (incl GST) per student which includes pre season workshops, certificates and a streamable copy of your school’s performance. Optional costs include props, costumes and transport to the theatre. The fee for Wakakirri Video is $200 (incl GST) per entry. This includes screening, certificates and feedback.

Artist in Residence program costs

A Wakakirri Artist in Residence Program is the easiest way to begin your Wakakirri journey. Choose our online version for remote schools or have a specialist Facilitator visit your school to assist with your story, choreography and soundtrack and lead students in 12 x 1 hour rehearsals. See our AIR page for a full list of prices.


Wakakirri is not a competition but does have awards that acknowledge schools who exemplify the Wakakirri ethos ‘Great Stories Inspire Change’ including raising awareness, community building and excellence in performing arts.

Subsidies for schools

The Wakakirri Inspiration Fund was established to encourage and assist disadvantaged schools to participate in Wakakirri. The fund is filled each year by public donations and grants. Schools can apply for subsidies on participation fees via the fund.

Wakakirri Ambassadors

Wakakirri enjoys the support of some of Australia’s leading industry professionals who give their time as part of our National Panel to encourage the next performing arts generation. Wakakirri Ambassadors partner with Wakakirri in various ways including participating in Performing Arts Careers Day, mentoring workshops and activities at live events.

We are here to help!

Performing Arts Careers Day

Wakakirri holds an annual event for passionate secondary students, who have an interest in learning and creating pathways into the performing arts world. On Careers Day, it is our hope that students will be inspired, encouraged and informed about what it takes to succeed in the Entertainment Industry. Next event scheduled for May is themed “How to get started in the industry”.  RSVP here


Wakakirri Resources for schools include;

Teacher PD

The Wakakirri Masterclass is a 40-minute webinar designed to help schools create imaginative Story-Dances, avoid common mistakes and make their Wakakirri experience stress-free success. Topics covered include: Story structure, planning, soundtrack, sets, props and costumes. Event dates: 23 Feb / 30 March, 5pm AEST.  RSVP here

Hear what others have to say

It’s created a sense of belonging, not just within grades but across the school.
It’s one of the best things to happen here
Teacher, Northmead Creative Arts High School NSW
We thought it was an absolutely fantastic experience for our students and school community. The outcomes for our students were amazing!
Principal, Noble Park Primary School, NSW
I am so humbled by the joy that our students got out of their performance and will support Wakakirri for as long as our students want it
Principal, Mascot Primary School, NSW

Keen to find out more?

Registrations close at the end of term 1 in your State or Territory. Register ASAP for Wakakirri live as there are limited spots. If you would like a quote for the Artist In Residence Program, information about the Inspiration Fund or anything else then please contact us directly on 02 9669 3777 or [email protected].

Thanks for our partners