Canberra’s Youth is Ready to Take Back Centre Stage!
(Corey Bradley, Jack Morton and Sophie Riley in a scene at a weekly workshop at the Canberra Youth Theatre)
The Canberra Youth Theatre is dedicated to bringing young Canberran’s visions and skills to the stage. For 50 years, the theatre has been putting on productions, creating workshops, and helping participants gain experience in a professional capacity. I was able to sit down with the Canberra Youth Theatre CEO Luke Rogers to discuss what he wishes to accomplish with the theatre, and what it means to the participants who get involved.
Q: What is the Youth Theatre all about?
A: The Canberra Youth Theatre is one of the key arts organisations here in the ACT. We are a youth theatre that has young people as their point of focus. We create productions, have emerging artist programs, and run workshops for young people who are anywhere between the ages of 7 and 25.
Q: What is the main drive for running a youth theatre?
A: We pride ourselves on being able to advocate for the voice of young people, through emerging and intelligent theatre. We give young people a creative outlet to express themselves and what they want to say to the world through theatre, through acting, and production. It gives them a chance to explore their own societies, to explore themselves. We provide them the necessary skills to do that while giving them the opportunity to collaborate with professional artists.
Q: Why would a theatre like this encourage university-aged students to participate?
A: Some people think of youth as children or teenagers. While we still have a variety of programs for people between the ages of 17 to 25, youth to us is still very much young adult. As a theatre, we are still very interested in the conversations and ideas that are to be had at a tertiary level. This really is a place for people to build on their foundations here through collaborations and experimentation so they can become leaders of tomorrow.
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Q: Are their any upcoming productions?
A: Yes! We have our first show called Little Girls Alone in the Woods, which is happening at the Canberra Theatre in mid-May. We also have a co-production with the Street Theatre, called I’ve Been Meaning to Ask You, where participants aged 6-13 ask a range of difficult questions to adults. The adults’ responses are then acted out by the kids. Finally, at the end of the year, we have a production called Two Twenty-Somethings Decide to Never Be Stressed About Anything Ever Again Ever, which is a comedy that has a very cathodic response to 2020.
Q: Finally, you spoke about 2020, how difficult was that year for the theatre?
A: It was very challenging. A lot of our plans got turned on their heads, we had to go digital for quite a while. One of the things we did try, was to make sure we were still able to connect and collaborate with our community of young people. When we were able to resume in-person workshops again, it was quite a relief to have people back in the room, even if it was in a new Covid safe way. It posed a lot of challenges but it did present an equal number of opportunities that we wouldn’t have had. We were able to explore the digital realm, which allowed us to reach out and engage with other companies. Fortunately, we were one of the few companies who were able to do a production late last year. It was important to us to make sure people came back to the theatre.
The Canberra Youth Theatre is located to Braddon and holds workshops for people aged 7-25 every Monday and Wednesday. For anyone interested in participating, auditioning or just looking for a fun way to spend your you night a couple of times a week visit https://canberrayouththeatre.com.au.