In a short but elegant virtual launch last night (January 24), Canberra Youth Theater Artistic Director and CEO Luke Rogers ushered in a year of mostly original plays to mark the company’s 50th anniversary – and they will all be staged at the Canberra Theater Centre.
The season opens at the Courtyard Studio in April with a new production of Debra Oswald’s hit play about peer pressure, ‘Dags’, originally commissioned by the Canberra Youth Theater in 1985 and since staged in Australia, Australia. UK and USA.
This, Rogers said, signaled the likely impact created by commissioning new works for young people, and with that in mind, the 2022 season would feature three world premiere productions.
Cathy Petocz’s “The Initiation” is a new piece developed with young artists from the company over the past two years, which, in the style of teenage horror films, sees a group of young people alone at night on Black Mountain – which will premiere at Courtyard Studio in June.
In September, in the biggest Playhouse, we will see “How To Vote!” by Julian Larnach. commissioned by the company in 2020 to examine young people’s engagement in politics, democracy and activism and originally presented at a staged reading at the Old Parliament House. The production will feature a massive cast of over 30 college actors.
Finally, “Soul Trading” by Kate Walder, staged at the Courtyard Studio during the October school holidays by the youngest members of the company, takes place in a future where artificial intelligence is part of everyday life and where the best children’s friends are robots. . When the bots decide they want souls, it’s up to a group of young minds to save the world.
At the launch, which featured elaborate video footage, Rogers thanked corporate supporters and then announced programs that would expand opportunities for young, early-career artists.
Sets of weekly workshops for primary and secondary students, he said, would now be offered at Gungahlin and The Q, while continuing and continuing at the Belconnen Arts Center and the Gorman Arts Centre.
The Emerging Artists Program for early career artists aged 18-25 would feature two resident artists for 2022, Caitlin Baker and Sophie Tallis.
Two new programs for young people to get involved in theater offstage would be “Engage”, where young people aged 16 to 25 could meet to read plays, watch performances, participate in post-performance discussions and develop their creative thinking skills and ‘Backstage’, presented in conjunction with the Canberra Theater Centre, which would allow young people to learn how to set up and focus lights, set up and use sound equipment and better understand the process of technical design.
The ‘Emerge Company’ would equip early-career artists with the skills to develop their own work and produce independent theatre, while ‘Scratch’ at Smith’s Alternative would allow emerging artists to meet, network, test new materials and receive feedback.
For older students, masterclasses with theater professionals would explore training practices and develop industry skills.
Writers would be front and center, with the Young Playwrights Program led by Mary Rachel Brown and the Emerging Playwright Commission, which last year went to Joanna Richards.
“Our 50th year promises excitement, challenges and many opportunities for young and emerging theater artists and makers,” says Rogers.
They are eager to hear from past members of the company during this celebratory year.
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Ian Meikle, editor