How Languages Came to Be

How Languages Came to Be was an ambitious, large-scale puppet show, starring 50 Aboriginal children from the WA city of Kalgoorlie-Boulder.  It was devised and presented by Tjuma Pulka FM radio, and presented as a single theatrical performance at Wangkatja: Our Language Matters Arts & Cultural Festival in July 2017.

Illuminart team members Zero Shaw and John Carberry supported fellow artists and community members to design and project cultural elements onto the stage and the set during the show.

The show tells a language creation story — how Aboriginal people were given the gift of language from the birds.

The project started with a “culture camp” — bringing a core group of students to the coastal town of Esperance for team-building and story-telling.  The students were encouraged to draw pictures and share ideas, sowing the seeds for what would eventually become a full-scale production.  Puppets were hand made through a community project, and the presentation was rehearsed and presented at the Goldfields Arts Centre.


Having this many people here still in the last week leading up to it is just really great evidence that this type of engagement works in community.

Stephanie Beck