NATIONAL YOUTH PERFORMING ARTS QUARTERLY
Welcome to the first of a new Quarterly for the Australian youth performing arts industry.
We have one of the most respected youth arts sectors in the world. If you’re in or connected to this sector then you know you’re in good company!
From our professional productions capturing the imaginations of young audiences here and across the world, to companies specialising in community engagement, education and skills development, our eQuarterlies will shine a light on what’s being created here, there and everywhere in Australia.
This eQuarterly is a recognition that our youth performing arts sector needs to be seen and heard. With the upheaval of the past 18 months, following years of stagnant federal government investment, we have become less connected, less acknowledged and less visible not just within broader society, but between ourselves. Any unexpected, joyous, creative connections that have been made require an energy and effort that can be difficult to maintain when resources are stretched and distances feel vast.
Yet in the same period of time, our work has become more important than ever before. With declining mental health stamping its dominance as the most important health issue facing not just young Australians, but young people across the developed world. With increasing diagnosis of anxiety and depression, a desperate need for an increased connection to community and place, and a desire to be seen, heard and acknowledged, the youth performing arts offers a bridge between generations.
Our work recognises that young people are not empty vessels waiting to be filled with knowledge and life experience. Sure, they lack experiences that will age them. But they are born with talents, interests, ideas and personalities that are utterly unique and eternally interesting.
By recognising their autonomy and challenging our young people to think about expressing their own ideas through movement, music and storytelling, we reconnect them with their community. Because if the broad church that is the performing arts share one common feature – it’s bringing people together.
Of course, there are youth performing arts companies across the country that won’t be listed in this issue. There is far more work going on than we realise, because we’re a busy sector and sometimes work is happening in isolation. If you know a company or individual who should be included, please contact us with their details and we will follow up.
Our hope is that this could be the beginning of a renaissance in the Australian youth arts sector. Goodness knows we could do with one. So please spread the word to anyone you feel may be interested, and help us build the industry that supports young Australians.
~ Fraser Corfield, Artistic Director and CEO, ATYP