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Winter is the perfect time for coming together to share stories and poetry, and over the last month at CAN we’ve been doing plenty of that with workshops and performances at Common Ground Returns and Denmark’s Festival of Voice.

CAN’s Bilya Kep Waagnkiny performance for the Festival of Voice was the product of a series of poetry workshops held with Noongar Elders and adults in 2017 that culminated in performances in the wheatbelt. An invitation from the Festival led to a reprise of this great show featuring poets Janet and Yvonne Kickett, Deborah Moody, Alf Taylor, Rosalie Quartermaine and Daniel Hansen with musicians Heath Bergerson, Duncan Strachan and Rachel Aquilina. The team shared new works and musical collaborations in a unique showcase of varied poetic voices speaking of family, humour, politics, the stolen generation, Country and love.

Common Ground Returns at the Blue Room Theatre drew tears and laughter from the capacity crowd as CAN showcased a talented group of young people from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds using poetry as a platform for open conversations about identity, self and faith. Clara Naava Wijaya, Cara O’Sullivan, Catherine Jamison, Poppy Van Oorde-Grainger, Rebecca Cooper, Gabriela Antonini, Jaimee Blackman, Carolina Duca, Michele Woods , Elle De Jong, Patrick Kain, Abdul Hamid, Susan (Leisavnieks) Gibb, Chakris Leo Srisuwan and Ally Syed were led through a series of workshops on the process of writing and presenting a live poetry performance by acclaimed performance poet Sukhjit Saul Khalsa and 2017 Australian Slam Poetry Champion Jesse Oliver. One audience member captured it well, describing the experience as “integrating all the facets of what multicultural Australia looks like in a heartfelt display of diversity”.

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