29/06/2004 - 22:00

Yirra Yaakin driving safety

29/06/2004 - 22:00

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Yirra Yaakin driving safety

The Insurance Commission of Western Australia, the State’s sole provider of compulsory third party motor vehicle personal injury insurance, is using the arts as a means of combating the high rates of road trauma involving Aboriginals.

The Insurance Commission has commissioned Aboriginal theatre company Yirra Yaakin Theatre to take a message to remote Aboriginal communities through a play and workshop.

Yirra Yaakin won the contract to write, produce, perform and tour Muttacar Sorry Business through the Gascoyne and Kimberley, where three out of four road traumas involve Aboriginals.

The Insurance Commission has previously used theatre to address risks facing young drivers and in 2002 was awarded the best new sponsor, and the arts sponsorship leadership judges award for its sponsorship of the play The Buzz.

Insurance Commision managing director Vic Evans said using theatre as a means to convey road safety messages had proven to be very effective.

“When we were considering what would give us maximum impact to address road safety issues specific to Aboriginal people, a theatre project seemed to be the best answer,” he said.

Yirra Yaakin marketing and business development manager Audra Standage said that any sort of message could be conveyed through theatre.

“Theater has the potential to touch people in a meaningful way because it is immediate and real,” she said.

“If the audience can relate to the subject matter and the characters then that connection becomes even more powerful.

Ms Standage said Yirra Yaakin had been ideally placed to undertake the task because of its understanding of Aboriginal cultures and connections with remote communities.

“Because Aboriginal people have such a strong oral tradition, live theatre has more of an impact than means such as television or radio campaigning,” she said.

“Together, we [the Insurance Commission and Yirra Yaakin] are able to use our knowledge, resources and creativity to ensure that this project becomes a very meaningful production with real outcomes in the wider community.”

The death rate of Aboriginal people from road crashes is more than three times higher than the rate of non-Aboriginal people and statistics identify specific high risk ages, locations, types and causes of crashes.

With this research it becomes clear the play is highly relevant to the objectives of both the commission and Yirra Yaakin, demonstrating the successful relationship that can be forged between business and arts.

Yirra Yaakin is celebrating its 11th year and the success of theatre as a means to convey social messages to Aboriginal cultures has been demonstrated by its commission from the Commonwealth Office for the Status of Women to create a play in relation domestic violence against Aboriginal women.

Also celebrating its eleventh year this year are the Western Australian State Arts Sponsorship Scheme awards.

The awards recognise the importance of maintaining and sustaining a relationship between business and arts, in an effort to create economic and social development.

Nominations for the awards close on July 30, with winners announced on October 6 at His Majesty’s Theatre.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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