Outback Theatre for Young People (OTYP) and Powerhouse Youth Theatre (PYT) present the first public presentation of Secret Places: The Connections Project on Wednesday 30th November 2011. At 6pm 2 simultaneous performances will occur – One in Griffith NSW at the Griffith Regional Theatre and the other in Western Sydney at the Fairfield School of Arts, home of Powerhouse Youth Theatre.
Over the past 6 weeks 2 school groups from Griffith have exchanged with 2 groups of culturally diverse students in Western Sydney. Postcards, objects, slide shows and video have been passed back and forth, generating responses and material that will culminate in the first public showing of the collaboration that continues into 2012.
Tentative introductions have led to a ‘peeling back of the onion,’ with young people involved thrilled, and intrigued at building new connections, revealing more and more of themselves and their lives to each other as the project progresses.
As Corey Wheeler, Wade High School Drama Teacher indicates: ‘Students from Wade High School are completely and utterly engaged in the OTYP’s Secret Places project. It provides them with a professional structure within which they can apply their performance talents and enthusiasm. Further, it educates them about the collaborative nature of play-building and the power of theatre to educate, raise awareness and build bridges between groups of people. The students of Wade High School need this project to continue into next year so that they can see a product, a conclusion, to this fun and valuable process which they have been contributing towards.’
OTYP’s Artistic Director, Alex Walker, has been working intensively with young people from Griffith in school time and in afterschool workshops. ‘This project is about theatrical pen-palling. We are asking them to share stories and experiences. We are saying what ‘you’ think matters, in fact for this project it’s all that matters,’ says Alex Walker.
OTYP’s Creative Producer, Mandy Field summarized the central themes of Secret Places by stating that ‘Secret Places does not preach tolerance or respect for difference. It is not a project about history, or geography. The process of sharing and connecting over time and through the creation of a shared experience, bonds are being created between students in classes, across classes and across communities that inherently encourage a culture of mutual respect, and a sense that we all have a story worth telling. We are all bound by our own personal spaces, and what we decide to share, or keep secret. Secret Places: The connections project, is about opening up these places, not to identify our differences but to appreciate our humanness. For young people this is a huge leap of faith and a massive risk, to perform for peers, and to reveal themselves.’
Maria Tran, Powerhouse Youth Theatre, Project Leader, describes Secret Places as ‘a unique experience for kids from different parts of Australia to express themselves and find common ground in each other through film, theatre and storytelling.”
“It’s been a surprisingly fun process which has encouraged the students to work in unusual combinations, across their normal friendship groups, and to express themselves in ways that no other regular class allows. They’ve all learnt a lot from meeting the challenges set by this project, and through the use of storytelling and digital media it supports learning in other key areas.” Kate Clarkson, Intensive English Centre, Lurnea High
Details as follows:
Date: Wednesday 30 November 2011
Griffith Regional Theatre
1 Neville Place, Griffith
Powerhouse Youth Theatre,
Fairfield School of Arts,
19 Harris Street, Fairfield.