Songbird takes flight
AS a young girl, Shakara Walley thought it was normal for people to break into song at any given moment.
She and fellow family members would strike a chord on the guitar and belt out a melody whenever the urge took hold.
Harnessing this fervour for harmony, the emerging Perth theatremaker could not resist adding a few numbers to her new play.
Songbird, Walley’s writing debut, features several self-composed tunes written while touring the festival circuit with her father.
“I come from a very musical background: my whole family can play any number of instruments and we all sing,” Walley said.
“In Year 2 I started with violin and then upgraded to ukulele and then guitar. I have a short attention span so have learned to play bass and piano also – I get bored and move on to the next thing.
“Music remains a big part of my life and my family and I still sit and sing together.”
Following her directorial debut last year with Confessions of a Pyromaniac, Walley’s Songbird will premier during Naidoc Week through Yirra Yaakin’s Next Step program and focuses on themes of reconciliation, tragedy and love.
“I had to get out of my own speech patterns and think about how other people talk,” Walley said.
“I wrote the script with the lan- guage that I use, so when the actors read it they said: ‘I don’t talk like this’.
“I’m a believer in collaboration so I worked with my actors and writing mentor and listened to other people and took on suggestions.”
Walley said she was nervous in bringing her production to the stage and simply hoped people would enjoy the show.
Songbird performers Beth Cooper and James Taylor.