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Marrambidya River Festival


Wagga exists because of the river that loops around the city.

It survives in the summer because of the cool water.

It’s lined with beautiful ancient trees

And when it’s too full it overflows and brings out the best in people.

It is the perfect backdrop for this festival

That brings some of Wagga’s finest performers together

To dance, sing, play music, read words, and perform

Like people have for thousands of years.

Peter Ingram  5.15pm (10mins)
John Harper  5.30pm (10mins)
E.L.Elliott        5.45pm (20mins)
Ivy Simpson   6.10pm (10mins)
Roya Pouya   6.20pm (10mins)
Felix Machiridza - Zim Band 6.45pm (25mins)
Charles Sturt theatre students with Terrain  7.10pm
David Gilbey  7.35pm (10mins)
FREEROAM   8.05pm (25mins)
MOTO           8.35pm (30 mins)
We would like to acknowledge that we are on the unceded land of the Wiradjuri and pay our deepest respects to Elders, past, present and future, and to any First Nations people who are here tonight.

John Harper "I am an Irishman born in Belfast 61 years ago. I have lived in Australia for over 30 years. I call myself a singing scientist because I have brought my artistic side including singing and poetry to my university science teaching and outreach activities. I have written rhymes and songs to help students remember important concepts and have collaborated with actors to bring to life science pioneers from the past. I believe learning should be fun."


E.L. Elliott is a performance poet and artist masquerading and punning life as it unfolds around her. She is an observer of moments and her writings authenticate her journey; the voyager, verging on the figurative narrative and cryptic symbolism, as visual text and spoken jest. In 2020 E.L. Elliott undertook a 12 day writing residency in the window of Eastern Riverina Arts and performed Baci (Kiss) during ART STATE NSW as part of the group exhibition Something To Say. Where she could be seen for 30 minutes each day delicately kissing and blowing rose petals towards a glass window.

For The Marrambidya River Festival E.L. Elliott will be performing Undertow a site specific durational performance piece in three parts. Each part spans 110 feet (steps) 330 feet (steps) in total. Red cotton, scissors, white powder.


Ivy Simpson is a Gamilaroi woman who was born and raised in Wagga Wagga.

She is 16 years old and was born a dancer.

She has been dancing since the age of 4 with the Wagga Academy of Ballet.

He performance today is about her life story told through dance. Her dreams, aspirations and life's purpose.


Roya Pouya was born in 1985 in Tehran, Iran. She started writing poems at the age of 13. Roya has been an explorer person in her whole life and her poems are accompanied by philosophical and epistemological questions about life on Earth. “Darkroom”, as her first poem’s book, is a selection of her poems from 2007 to 2012, which was published in Iran in her native language, Persian.

Roya has attended an International Poem’s Festival called Gelavizh in Kurdistan, Iraq in 2013 and in March 2015, she was admitted to participate in Sydney International Women’s Poetry & Art Festival for reading her poem with the aim of fostering a supportive atmosphere for empowering women to stand up against racism, sexism and violence. Her poems have been translated into Kurdish and Swedish Languages.

Roya was known as a social scholar and feminist writer in the literary society of Iran following getting her Master's Degree in Women's Studies in 2018.

She immigrated to Australia in February 2020, and a few months later, following reading her poems at Booranga Writers' Centre, she became a member of that. In January 2021, Roya was commissioned by Booranga Writers’ Centre to write a poem in connection with the Wagga Wagga Art Gallery Exhibition/Installation ‘Hardenvale: Our Home in Absurdia’.

Currently, she is a Ph.D. candidate at La Trobe University. She also works as a meditation & mindfulness trainer at Wagga Women’s Health Centre.


Felix Machiridza and his Wagga based family band plays mostly Zimbabwean traditional music and other African musical beats. The main instruments are marimbas (xylophones), mbira and drums. The band has been playing for nearly 5 years, first as a family band but recently recruiting new members. Zimpride has performed at many local and interstate musical festivals, including the National Multicultural Festival in Canberra, the Royal Canberra Show, the Spirit of the Planet Festival in Dubbo, Africultures in Sydney, and Fusion, Lost Lanes and the Spring Jam Festivals here in Wagga.


Acting and performance students from Charles Sturt University, Aluk Aluk, Zajkel Zaia, Harrison Collis-Oates, and Jack Dixon (Acting and Performance students, CSU) will perform Terrain, an explorative place-based site-specific performance integrating vocal exploration, movement and Australian texts based on the theme of water and land. Life is nature. Nature is culture. Culture is respect. Respect is history. History is life. Life is nature. Performers interact with the land and the environment and explore the terrifying and beautiful aspects of the environment through a kaleidoscope of scenes and fragmented texts. This devised performance was developed through a rigorous training process that incorporated exploratory text work, sensory explorations of manufactured and natural objects, underpinned by choreography inspired by Butoh dance, an avant-garde Japanese performance aesthetic. Devised by the actors and Robert Lewis. Directed by Robert Lewis.


Born in London, David Gilbey, eldest of four children, emigrated with his family to Australia in 1960 and attended Penrith High School, The University of Sydney (MA Hons) and Sydney Teachers’ College (Dip Ed). David has taught English for more than 45 years – at Sydney Uni, Charles Sturt Uni and Miyagi Gakuin Women’s Uni (Sendai, Japan). David’s first full poetry collection was Death and the Motorway (Interactive Press, 2008). His latest collection is Pachinko Sunset (Five Islands Press, 2016). Selections of his poems were included in Under the Rainbow (fourW press, 1996) and the noise of exchange: Twelve Australian Poets (ASM Poetry, Macao, 2011). Some of his haibun have been collected in Downunder Japan and Forty Stories (2012 & 2010, Fine Line Press, NZ). David is a founder of Wagga Wagga Writers Writers, current President of Booranga Writers’ Centre and editor-in-chief of fourW: new writing (1990-2020).  David is married to (Dr) Geraldine Duncan – they have four children in their thirties.


Wagga’s newest theatre company FREEROAM have also creates a work based on the site.


And we will end the night listening to the sweet jazz stylings of MOTO. 

Austin, Declan, Eilidh and Liam have been playing in and out of each other's living rooms for the better part of 3 years, patiently deepening their musical chemistry, and honing their individual sounds. Their MOTO project offers an electric gamut - rustic ambience, all the way to outright fusion chaos.

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This event has been made possible through the generous support of Wagga Wagga City Council and Riverina Water.
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