THEATRE AND ACTING PROGRAM FOR LOGAN’S YOUNG PEOPLE UNLOCKS POTENTIAL FOR DIVERSIFICATION OF PRODUCTIONS ON ITS STAGES
THE future of Logan City’s theatre culture has been entirely re-scripted, thanks to a unique, collaborative drama and acting program delivered by BEMAC over the school holidays. BEMAC Director Evan Alexander said ACTIVATE was the end result of consultations held by BEMAC with Logan’s theatre companies in 2018.
“A real impetus for Logan’s multicultural complexion to be better reflected on its stage was expressed by all the theatre companies we spoke with,” Mr Alexander said.
“As the arts-arm of Logan-based settlement organisation Access, which has been at the forefront of social cohesion programs and activities in south-west Queensland for over 30 years, we understand the role the arts plays in building social capital by reducing social isolation, strengthening friendships and helping communities better understand diversity, as well as their collective identity.
“ACTIVATE strove to engage with and build connections between young residents of the city who have a passion for acting and theatre, with local theatre companies and practitioners in a school holiday program, which would develop their skills, confidence and networks, in a fun, inclusive environment.”
Twenty-five budding young actors and actresses from all walks of life participated in the free two-week program, which was delivered at Alabaster Theatre in Browns Plains and BEMAC’s custom-built Kangaroo Point home, the Queensland Multicultural Centre (QMC).
Meredani, one of the participants, said she had always wanted to perform but did not have the confidence to as she just didn’t think she was good enough.
“The Activate program helped me believe in myself and showed me that with the right mentors (in theatre) a girl from Fiji living in Logan can do it and be the best.” She said.
It was not only the participants whose skills and confidence was developed through the program, facilitator Jeanette said ACTIVATE expanded her knowledge and experience in working with CALD young people.
“While I have previously worked with children in the Philippines, I had not previously worked with CALD youth here in Australia, so it was a little different in my experience. In this program, I got to see how students express themselves and interact with others in ways that may be based on their cultural upbringings. I learned to encourage them, but to also accept them as they were, with the understanding that some traits such as shyness or not wanting to outshine others may be cultural, and that is completely OK,” she said.
Since its conclusion, four of the participants have auditioned for an upcoming production at Alabaster Theatre.
“Logan is such a beautiful, multicultural community,” said Jeanette.
“We would be doing it a great service by representing more and more of its different cultures with both on-stage and behind the scenes roles. I believe audiences will be eager to learn from and be captivated by the truth of their homegrown stories and talents. Workshops like Activate help unlock potential in the CALD youth interested in telling their stories through performing in song, dance, and acting. We should celebrate them more by having more culturally diverse productions, roles, and casts.”
Mr Alexander said the success of the project, which was funded through Logan City Council’s Community Project Grants, has motivated BEMAC to continue rolling it out in Logan every second school holiday.
“We will also be looking at delivering ACTIVATE in Ipswich,” he said.