Wooooooooo! What a month April was! My office is still covered in metres of bunting after the success of Imaginarium; over ninety young people rotated through five different workshops in dance, puppeteering, zine making, writing and storytelling; the only rule – let your imaginations run wild. It was a day of great energy and enthusiasm and we were delighted to hear so many people commenting “why can’t we have Imaginarium school every day?”. . . my sentiments exactly!

This energy took us straight into CYT’s first ever 24 Hour Play Project, resulting in two brand new premiere works, one a political satire and the other a supernatural suspense. Twenty five creative, organised and focused 7 -12 year olds drove this project through its very short inception, rehearsal and production period and with the assistance of the equally talented CYT office staff, presented these thought provoking new works. If you haven’t already, please read the review on the Project, written by one of our parents Joanne Purcell, who dissected both pieces so eloquently, advocating theatre for young people as a vital medium to voice their ideas.

From the power of our 2015 production for 7 – 12 year olds, we moved straight into the intensity of a week long creative development for Dead Men’s Wars, our co-production with New Zealand company Long Cloud Youth Theatre. Ten emerging actors between 16 and 24 years worked with staff from both companies and playwright Ralph McHubbin Howells to develop the second draft of what will be a production to be reckoned with. We interrogated a number of ideas throughout the week, again looking at how we as young people, find connection to the senselessness of war. We spent an afternoon at the Australian War Memorial, which aided in our thinking around this and provoked further thinking on the woman’s role within the Anzac legacy, prompting even greater focus on this within our second draft. It was an exhausting week but we achieved so much and strengthened our relations with Long Cloud. I would like to thank everyone involved in this Creative Development but especially these inspiring young actors who were pushed and pulled in every direction and worked like professionals all week.

Our Awesome Autumn Adventure holiday workshop took place last week, resulting in a fantastic piece of theatre that took the audience through the seasons, with set pieces built by these young actors to match. It was wonderful to see a broad range of theatrical techniques utilised in this piece, with movement, soundscape, song and comedy all featuring in this highly collaborative ensemble work.

CYT was pleased to welcome back Warehouse Circus last week as well, with their second Uncharted Territory performance, including a piece based around gender directed by myself! What a great experience it was to move outside of my comfort zone and work with a form I’ve never previously worked with. I would encourage all of our emerging artists to come along to the next Uncharted Territory in June and even be part of it by contacting Warehouse Circus. It’s a great opportunity for experimentation in performance.

So now we’re back in the office, after a month of imagination, quick thinking and enquiring thought. Our Semester Workshops at Gorman House are all preparing for their final performances at the end of May, producing wonderfully diverse work. Excitement is building amongst the 13 – 17 year old workshops, as we get closer to Fast and Fresh at the Canberra Theatre Centre, rehearsing intensively to produce two dynamic new works. We’ll all be there with bells on to support these emerging theatre-makers and their mentors.

Enjoy the last month of Autumn, I can’t believe how beautiful Canberra is at this time. See you next month!