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The Warrma delivers an engaging cultural experience of the unique history of the Guugu Yimithirr People

Banks of the Endeavour River come alive with traditional song and dance.



The Warrma, a live performance presented as part of the Cooktown & Cape York Expo 2021, brought together First Nations youth dance teams from around Cooktown and Hope Vale to work with industry professionals to create three exciting new and vibrant dance performances based on dream time stories of the region. 

Drawing in the natural beauty and surrounds of the Endeavour River, the Warrma brought together Indigenous dancers from surrounding clan lands to tell their stories of the dreaming, history and culture.  As part of this unique Aboriginal cultural experience, audiences were encouraged to learn and be involved in traditional dancing.  

The Cooktown & Cape York Expo 2021 focused on reconciliation, recognising the past, reflecting on the present and moving forward together for a better future for all.

Presented during Queensland’s Year of Indigenous Tourism, the Expo was an opportunity to learn more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, arts, and culture in Far North Queensland.


When and where

13 and 20 June 2021.

Waymburr (Cooktown) which is part of the 32 odd clan groups of Guugu Yimithirr nation.


Key stats

  • 90 First Nations artists employed 
  • 14 performances
  • 800 attendees. 




$36,500 supported through Open Air.

The Open Air program supports the activation of outdoor and non-traditional settings and the production and delivery of a program of works by artists and arts organisations in these spaces.

Open Air is part of the $22.5 million two-year Arts and Cultural Recovery Package, focused on stablishing Queensland’s arts companies, securing jobs for artists and arts workers, and delivery COVID-safe cultural experiences to Queensland audiences.

The Queensland Government supported the Cooktown & Cape York Expo 2021 through the Department of Premier and Cabinet and through Tourism and Events Queensland.




  • Elevate First Nations arts: Warrma featured local First Nations arts experiences  with Indigenous dancers, three new dance performances, and a sound and light show inspired by local dreamtime stories 
  • Share stories: Audiences were given the opportunity to engage with the performance and share in the local Dreamtime story by learning a traditional dance. 
  • Activate Queensland local places: The banks of the Endeavour River provided the perfect setting for audiences to experience the unique history of Cooktown and Cape York. The performances increased awareness of local Aboriginal culture through sharing the unique history of Cooktown and Cape York and grew the cultural diversity of the area whilst stimulating the preservation of the unique Indigenous culture of the Cape. The Warrma, presented as part of the Cooktown & Cape York Expo 2021 – the Rising Tide, helped to generate cultural tourism benefits for the region.
  • Professional development:
    • dance workshops with professional Indigenous choreographers and musicians to ensure that culture is passed on and maintained in communities.
    • opportunities for young Indigenous volunteer understudies to work along the coordinators
  • Strengthen communities: Cooktown maintained ongoing partnerships with the surrounding Indigenous Cape York communities, in particular Hope Vale and Wujal Wujal. 



What next?

Warrma was presented as part of the larger Cooktown and Cape York Expo 2021 (11 – 20 June) which featured an arts and cultural program. 


Find out more

Cooktown and Cape York Expo 2021 - The Rising Tide