Hecate: Adaptation, Education and Cultural Activism

Clint Bracknell, Kylie Bracknell

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapterpeer-review

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Premiering at Perth Festival in 2020, Hecate is the first stage adaptation of Shakespearean work, in this case Macbeth, to be performed entirely in one Aboriginal language from Australia, specifically the Noongar language from Western Australia’s southwest. Australia is home to hundreds of Aboriginal languages, most of which are endangered due to settler-colonial suppression of Aboriginal culture. Today, although there are over 30,000 Noongar people, the Noongar language is rarely heard spoken in full sentences. More than being a significant artistic achievement, presenting Shakespeare in Noongar has provided a rare opportunity for Noongar and other people to actively engage with the Noongar language in deep and lasting ways. As a nation with a noted cultural cringe, Australia places high cultural value on Shakespeare. The opportunity to develop Hecate as a Noongar-language work arose because engaging with the English literary tradition – and particularly Shakespeare – attracted the necessary government and philanthropic support, media attention and audience interest. In Hecate, Shakespeare’s venerated status has been subversively used as a chink in the settler-colonial armour through which Noongar cultural activism, and deeper ‘felt’ intercultural understanding has been achieved via various collaborative processes, most importantly in developing a Noongar language-speaking ensemble of Noongar actors.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReimagining Shakespeare Education
Subtitle of host publicationTeaching and Learning Through Collaboration
EditorsLiam E. Selmer, Claire Hansen, Jacqualine Manuel
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781108778510
ISBN (Print)9781108478670
Publication statusPublished - 2 Feb 2023
  • Hecate

    Bracknell, C. & Bracknell, K., 5 Feb 2020

    Research output: Non-traditional research outputPerformancepeer-review

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