Rainbow Serpent and the Story of Creation

Rainbow Serpent and the Story of Creation

A Dreamtime-style story created and performed with permission of Elders from the Wangkangurru Yarlyulandi nation.


It was at the Big Red Bash Festival in 2017 that we made the decision to create a performance combining English and Indigenous language to highlight the Indigenous aspect of the Munga-Thirri (Simpson Desert) and Diamantina region .

We wrote a script in the style of a Dreamtime story which was approved by the local Wangkangurru Yarluyandi Elders. The ‘Rainbow Serpent and the Story of Creation’ production was  performed at sunset during the event in front of the 9000+ crowd. This festival takes place at the edge of the Simpson Desert and Big Red is the 40 metre sand-dune that acts as the guardian to this Ancient Landscape.

Arriving in early July, we facilitated drama workshops with the local and visiting children and made a giant Rainbow Serpent to appear on the top Big Red and then slither down to the audience. It was painted on the tennis court at Birdsville with help from some of the cast members and the local NAIDOC community.

 Wayne Kite and Paula Faulkner, from Ngalan Productions, provided the music with didgeridoo and clapsticks to accompany the Serpent and Animals during the show. Don Rowlands (Indigenous Elder) read parts of the script in Wangkangurru Yarluyandi language, and Lyn Rowlands and Paula joined in for the chorus when the Rainbow Serpent gave the Man and Woman certain rules for looking after her creation. 

Working with the Diamantina kids, the NAIDOC community and the Diamantina Council was a rich and rewarding experience for The Storey Players and deepens their commitment to further develop similar shows for new audiences around Australia.