The First Taungurung Women

The First Taungurung Women:

Script and Narration - Aunty Lee Healy; 

Producer / Director Jeminah Alli Reidy with Wild Puppets: Ashlee Hughes, Alicia Fernandez, and Rebecca Page. 

Performed by the 26 students of Toolangi Primary School.

Site specific artist and landscape performance maker, Jeminah Alli Reidy and her new company ‘Wild Puppets’ have been working with the whole school at Toolangi for the last two months. Earlier this month, Indigenous engagement with Aunty Lee Healey brought cultural exchange to the school. Hearing the Dreamtime stories, and learning about local totems, cultural traditions and artefacts throughout the incursion brought a new insight to the school’s curriculum.

"Bursting out” from this cultural exchange came a highly energised collaborative team of students. They have since worked together with the Wild Puppets team to retell in their own way, the story that was shared with them. The school children at the Toolangi Primary School have participated in a learning experience that engages them on many levels. Including the insights the students will have into indigenous culture, they also have an opportunity to work with professional artists creating processional puppets and learn physical performance.

Wild Puppet's pedagogical approach is to bring to schools and early learning centers a greater understanding of the natural environment and with that a deeper connection to the land. The Central Highlands are home to some of the most majestic natural wonders and we hope to highlight the beauty of our outdoor backdrop. The design aesthetic is bright and contemporary yet includes elements of the natural world. The materials used in the making range from natural materials found on the school property, recycled newspaper and cardboard, along with up cycled fabrics and costumes.

Previous experience has shown that the learning encompasses:

  • The confidence to perform

  • Practical making skills: construction, sewing,   painting, drawing, designing

  • Choreography, physical movement, dance

  • Manipulation of puppets

  • Collaboration, connection to community