Waru - journey of the small turtle

Join our heroine Migi as she undertakes a journey of discovery and survival.

A Bangarra Dance Theatre Production

~Waru -~ journey of the small turtle
~Waru -~ journey of the small turtle

#a unique chance to discuss climate change, environmental care, and cultural values.

Under the star-illuminated skies of the Torres Strait, a green turtle navigates her way back to the beach where she was born. The season has started, the turtles are returning to nest, and soon the island will welcome a new generation of hatchlings – amongst them, our small turtle friend, Migi!  

In Bangarra’s first dedicated work for children, join our heroine Migi as she undertakes a journey of discovery and survival. A contemporary saltwater Lagaw Kazil (Island Children) story inspired by the totemic system of the green turtle, Waru – journey of the small turtle is an interactive and immersive introduction to Torres Strait Islander culture and dance for 3–7-year-olds. 

Created by former Bangarra Artistic Director, Stephen Page, together with Hunter Page-Lochard and Bangarra alumni Dancers and Choreographers Sani Townson and Elma Kris, Waru provides teachers, parents and care-givers with a unique opportunity to open up conversations about climate change, caring for the environment and the traditional cultural values of respect and reciprocity.


Inspired in part by Turtle (Corroboree, 2001), choreographed by Stephen Page, Peggy Misi and Elma Kris.

Warujourney of the small turtle has been generously supported by the Girgensohn Foundation, the Knights Jabula Foundation and the Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund – an Australian Government initiative.

Recommended for ages: 3 – 7 years

Saturday 28 September - 11:00am & 6:00pm

Adult $38.00
Empire Cardholder $32.00
Concession(Gov Seniors & Pension Cards) $36.00
Child U15yrs $26.00
Groups 6+ $26.00
*a transaction fee of $5 applies per transaction for phone and internet bookings.

Family Friendly, Dance


#Featured songs:

Koey Maluya by Helen Anu, Leonora Adidi and Peggy Misi, choreographed by Peggy Misi, Elma Kris and Sani Townson.

Waru by Helen Anu, Leonora Adidi.

Soeywal Wayi by Helen Anu, Leonora Adidi.

Play Dance, Kasa Kab, choreographed by Peggy Misi and Stephen Page.

#Meet the Team

Aba Bero Dancer

Aba Bero

Proud Meriam, Erubian and Kaantju woman from Far North Queensland, Aba comes from both Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal roots. Born in Townsville, Queensland, she completed her primary schooling in Darwin and Daley River, Northern Territory, before moving back to Townsville to complete her secondary schooling. Being raised and immersed in cultural traditions of both First Nations backgrounds is where the strength of her core is founded.

Aba trained at NAISDA (National Aboriginal Islander Skills Development Association) for three years before moving back to Townsville in 2015 to take care of a family member.

She has performed in events and festivals, including the national AIDS Foundation, Qantas, Message Stick (SOH), 5 Land’s Walk, schools, universities, NAIDOC Week, Mabo Day, NPA (Northern Peninsula Area) Cultural Festival, restaurant, museum and gallery openings, Yarbun and Australia Day (SOH).

Elma Kris  Aka Malu Storyteller, Cultural Creative

Elma Kris Aka Malu
Storyteller, Cultural Creative

Elma was raised on Thursday Island (Waiben) in the Torres Strait. Her clan is from the North Western and Central Islands of the Torres Strait.

Elma has had a rich and rewarding career as a dancer, choreographer, actor and teacher. She studied at NAISDA and joined Bangarra in 1999.

Her many choreographic credits include Bupau Ipikazil and Bupau Mabigal (NAISDA, 1994) Malu (Bibir dance company, 1998), the Torres Strait Island element of the Sydney Olympics Opening Ceremony (2000), Emeret Lu (Bangarra, True Stories, 2007) and About (Bangarra, Belong, 2011). Elma’s film credits include Oscar and Lucinda, Reef Dreaming, Farscape and SPEAR (2016).

In 2007, Elma won a Deadly Award for Dancer of the Year and in 2017 she was Nominated for a Helpmann Award for Best Female Dancer for her title role in Stephen Page’s Nyapanyapa, part of Bangarra’s triple bill OUR land people stories (2016).

In 2015, she was one of five artists who took part in Unsettled, an exhibition at the National Museum of Australia.

Hunter Page Lochard Writer

Hunter Page Lochard

Hunter Page-Lochard recently completed production on the highly anticipated ABC/NBCUniversal series FIRES, and will next be seen in Daniel Askill’s debut feature film and Tyson Wade Johnston’s feature STREAMLINE. He is also one of the regular hosts of Playschool on ABC.

Hunter also starred as “Cleverman” in ABC's ground breaking series CLEVERMAN, which premiered at the 2016 Berlin Film Festival, aired on SUNDANCE TV in the US, for which he was nominated for the Graham Kennedy Most Outstanding Newcomer Logie Award.

Hunter made his feature film debut in Rachel Perkins' award winning film, BRAN NUE DAE. His other feature film credits include SPEAR, which premiered at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival, THE SAPPHIRES, which screened in Official Selection at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and AROUND THE BLOCK which screened at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.

Matt Cox Lighting Design

Matt Cox
Lighting Design

Matt’s career in theatre has spanned 15 years designing lighting in both Australia and the UK. During his time in London, Matt worked with student directors attending the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and John Stahl’s solo show Blindman.

Since returning to Sydney, he has designed numerous theatre productions including for: Bangarra Dance Theatre (Blak, Belong), Carriageworks (Lake Disappointment), Australian Chamber Orchestra (Reflections on Gallipoli), Musica Viva (Goldner String Quartet), Bell Shakespeare (Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet), Monkey Baa (The Unknown Soldier), Sydney Theatre Company (Ruby Moon), Louise Withers and Associates (The Mousetrap, A Murder is Announced), Company B (The Seed), Legs on the Wall (Symphony, for Sport for Jove, The Libertine, Othello), Sydney Festival (The Famous Spiegeltent 2016/2015, The Aurora Spiegeltent 2014) and Sydney Chamber Opera (His Music Burns).

Sani Townson Cultural Creative

Sani Townson
Cultural Creative

Sani comes from a strong cultural family who are of Samu, Koedal, Dhoeybaw clans of Saibai Island in the Torres Strait.

Sani studied at NAISDA 1996-2000 and danced with Bangarra 2001-2006. Since leaving Bangarra, he has worked with SBS, NITV and ABC, and collaborated with companies such as Gondwana Voices, Sydney Children’s Choir, QANTAS, Leigh Warren & Dancers, Insite Arts and NAISDA Dance College.

Sani has choreographed for Christine Anu, Felix Riebel, Kate Miller-Heidke, Sean Choolburra and Electric Fields. In 2020, Sani returned to Bangarra as the Youth Programs Coordinator while developing his own interactive children’s show Lagaw Mabaygal (Ailan ppl).

Stephen Page Director

Stephen Page

Born in Brisbane, Stephen is a descendant of the Nunukul people and the Munaldjali clan of the Yugambeh Nation from SE Queensland.

Stephen was Artistic Director of Bangarra Dance Theatre from 1991 - 2022 and has developed a signature body of works that have become milestones in Australian performing arts.

Stephen continues to reinvent Indigenous storytelling within Bangarra and through collaborations with other performing arts companies. He directed the Indigenous sections for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games Opening and Closing Ceremonies and created a new dance work as part of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony. Stephen has choreographed over 25 works for Bangarra. His most recent works include the Helpmann Award winning work Bennelong in 2017 and the work Dark Emu in 2018, choreographed together with former Bangarra dancers Daniel Riley and Yolande Brown, and which went on to become one of the most successful productions in the history of Bangarra.


Waru – journey of the small turtle has been generously supported by the Girgensohn Foundation, the Knights Family Jabula Foundation and the Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund – an Australian Government initiative.

This project is supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland.

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Empire Theatres acknowledges the Traditional Custodians, the Giabal, Jarowair and Western Wakka Wakka people, where we work and present stories. We would like to pay respect to the Elders, past and present and to all First Nations people.

Artwork: Kim Walmsley

Empire Theatre