It’s Festival Time! From AD, Katie Cawthorne

The i’m me festival preparations have begun, with rehearsals starting this Saturday. We have a cast of thirty two 7 – 12 year olds, who will be working with their directors over the next month, to devise and rehearse some fantastic theatre.

We have seven outstanding directors working on i’m me: Errenn Ball, Jessica Baker, Tracy Bourne, Claire Granata, Anna Johnstone, Kitty Malam and Ruth Pieloor. Each has developed an idea that celebrates and interrogates what it is to be “me” and will broaden our audience’s understanding of what theatre can be. These pieces will use elements of physicality, monologue, song, audience interaction, soundscape, games and comedy to convey their ideas. Canberra playwright Julian Hobba, has drafted a short play called THE SKYWHALE – A PLAY FOR TEN CHILDREN, which will be staged as a reading at the end of the evening before we dance our heads off under the fairy lights in the courtyard!

The i’m me festival is an evening not to be missed, with so much live theatre to see, along with the opportunity to make fabulous flower crowns with A forager’s heart, eat delicious crepes from Le Breton Crepes food truck and dance as the sun goes down with DJ Ted. Although it’s a festival for 7 – 12 year olds by 7 – 12 year olds, we would love to see parents, friends and family there too, so we can all celebrate “being me”!

Our workshops have begun at Gorman Arts Centre and in our primary schools and it’s been wonderful to meet so many new young artists who have now become part of the CYT community. We have Family Week next week at Gorman Arts Centre and we can’t wait to catch up with you all and show you what we’ve been working on so far.

I would like to congratulate eight of our 13 – 16 years artists who performed a beautiful work of physical theatre at the Multicultural Festival in February. This was devised and rehearsed in a very short period of time and although it thundered and rained on performance day, this cast were not deterred, performing in the wet, adding further depth to the work. As always, stunning focus and commitment to the piece, brilliant!

Enjoy the change of season and see you at i’m me!

Let’s Celebrate! From AD, Katie Cawthorne and GM, Alicia Wyatt

Wasn’t 2016 a massive year?!

We began the year working with our youngest group of artists and Noa Rotem, Butoh specialist, creating the extraordinary Butoh Project in just 24 hours. Our audience was blown away leaving the theatre uplifted and emotionally connected to this special work.

Heading into the colder months, we began work on the exceptional piece, The Verbatim Project. Performed in July, after months of development, our cast of 13 -15 year olds and the GOLDs honestly shared their own stories, discovering that no matter what age, the experiences we have are all connected because we are human. CYT was overwhelmed with the response from the wider Canberra community and are thrilled to be programmed for 2017 for the Australian Theatre for Young People, (ATYP) taking The Verbatim Project to Sydney next year. This has not been possible without fundraising and the incredible support of our CYT community. We can’t thank you enough and feel emotional just thinking about it!

There was little time for rest and August was spent rehearsing intensively, after five months of preparation for Antigone – The Greek Project. There were many challenges during the final rehearsals for this work and the professionalism exhibited by our Company Ensemble demonstrated the care and passion our young artists have for CYT. Again we had a sold out season and received rave reviews for this unique interpretation of a well known classic.

These productions would not have been so successful without the commitment of our Technical Theatre Team, who brought each piece to life with outstanding stage management, lighting and sound design.

Alongside all of these amazing productions, our Workshops Program continued to provide vital opportunties for our CYT artists to develop their skills in theatre making and theatre thinking with our exceptional tutors. The recent End of Semester performances were the strongest we have seen and and we can’t wait for what is in store for 2017!

This year we also created two new works for the Multicultural Festival and performed at the Boogong Halloween event in Googong. We ran a Masterclass in audition techniques for young people wishing to pursue a career in the industry. In November four incredible female leaders from the 13 -15 and 16 – 18 year Ensembles worked with BIGhART to share performance training skills with a group of young indigenous women.

CYT staff also had the pleasure of experiencing many productions throughout the year with a group of impassioned senior students from high schools and colleges, sharing their love of the theatre.

We all know CYT would not exist without the huge support base we have from our young artists, their families, our wider community, tutors, board and office staff.

Thank you for an unforgettable year! We can’t wait to see you all at the Christmas party to celebrate!

Busy, busy busy! From GM Alicia Wyatt

I can’t believe that I am writing this as we head into the beginning of November! The year has flown by and we are almost at the end of a pretty spectacular year. Next week is the start of our End of Semester performances at Gorman Arts Centre. We are looking forward to seeing the incredible work that our young artists have been working on throughout Semester 2. Katie has had a sneak peek, visiting all of our Workshops over the past few weeks and is thrilled with the level of focus and commitment everyone presents. We can’t wait to see friends and family at our two performance days on Monday 7 November (Monday and Wednesday classes) and Tuesday 8 November (Tuesday and Friday classes). Our Primary School, End of Semester Performances are then next, commencing the week of Monday 21 November at each school.

The CYT Administration has already been working incredibly hard preparing for the 2017 Artistic Program. We were immensely proud to receive a CAPO (Capital Arts Patron Organisation) award from Canberra Weekly a few weeks ago. This award will go towards an exciting opportunity taking place for our 7-12 years young artists in 2017- details coming soon, so stay tuned!

CYT has also received the very exciting news that we have received Plus1 funding from Creative Partnerships Australia. The Plus1 matched funding program supports arts organisations to attract new donors, build relationships and boost our fundraising.

So what does this mean for CYT? Plus1 gives small to medium arts and cultural organisations dollar-for-dollar matched funding for fundraising campaigns. More information will be released soon about our exciting campaign… because we need your help!

Even though there are only a few weeks left of the year at CYT we are still busy, busy, busy! We look forward to seeing our fabulous community on Friday night at the CYT Night Out as well as the Christmas Party on 9 December.

Thank you to all of our brilliant young artists and families for working so hard this semester. As always, pop in for a chat to the office – we love seeing everyone’s smiley faces!

CYT is a treasure from AD, Katie Cawthorne

What a wonderful family week! We always love catching up with parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles at this time to show them a little slice of what takes place every week in our workshops at CYT. It was great to see so many parents taking part in games and asking excellent questions about the works that are being created for performances in Term 4.

Although it’s school holidays, we have been working hard on our 2017 Artistic Program, with our brochure shoot last week, along with a film shoot for some exciting fundraising videos to be released later in the year. Thanks to all the CYTers who spent an afternoon with us. We will see your fabulous work at the Christmas Party in December!

Last week we were lucky to have a CYT alumni visit the office. He had been an emerging artist here nearly ten years ago and came in to see what the company was doing after having heard so many good things on the grapevine recently. He was excited to see the re-decoration in the offices and to hear about what we have been doing over the last 18 months and was full of stories about the history of CYT when he was here.

What struck me most was as he was leaving he said “CYT is a treasure. I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for this place.” This affirmed the amazing work this company has done and continues to do. With its changing leaders, tutors and artists, CYT still continues to be a vital place in so many young peoples’ experiences of growing up. A number of our young artists are struggling with finding their place in the world at the moment and I’ve had a few conversations of late with parents and artists themselves. I am continually assured by their connection to CYT and the support they feel when they’re here. CYT is absolutely a treasure!

An Accomplished Cast From AD, Katie Cawthorne

The 2016 production season is complete! We’ve finished the program with The Company Ensemble’s work, Antigone – The Greek Project and what a great success it was. This show received excellent reviews, which were particularly focused on the clarity of the piece and the capability of the performers. This is very affirming for CYT as The Company Ensemble spent a great deal of time analysing the work so it was crystal clear in our heads, which boded well for our audience. The Greek classics are ambitious plays to tackle for any theatre company, let alone a youth theatre, and I am so proud and assured that this was the right choice for this Ensemble as it demanded great skill, which each performer absolutely proved they were capable of. As reviewer Trevar Chilver wrote “The production truly shows this to be an accomplished cast. Their performance skills do much to affirm the quality of actors coming from Canberra Youth Theatre’s brilliant program.

We were fortunate to have a huge creative team behind this production, demonstrating the true collaborative nature of CYT. I would like to thank all who were involved with Antigone – The Greek Project, creating theatre as a team is much more fun than working solo! Again, our season was sold out and we apologise to those who couldn’t get tickets, but there may be another opportunity in the future…

Now we begin to prepare for 2017, which is looking pretty action packed. The full program will be released at our Christmas Party in December but we can confirm that The Verbatim Project is going on tour! The show will be performing for a season in Sydney next July, thanks to the support of ATYP (Australian Theatre for Young People) and we can’t wait. We need to get busy fundraising to do this and very soon you’ll be hearing about some pretty exciting events we have coming up later in the year and we look forward to your support in these.

Family Week is coming up, beginning on 19 September, and we can’t wait to see everyone here. Come along for a cup of tea first and then get ready to join in the fun in a workshop and see the fabulous things we have been up to this semester. End of Semester performances are beginning to develop and some of you might even get a taster in Family Week.

The sun is out and the blossoms are blooming, enjoy Spring CYTers!