Byron Youth Theatre continues to inspire youth

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Lisa Apostolides, Director of Byron Youth Theatre, has been teaching, directing and producing theatre and film projects for twenty-five years in four countries. She feels blessed to now engage with many extraordinary talented and passionate young and older people in the Northern Rivers community. 

The NRCF  has provided funding to the Youth Theatre to enable its young, often disadvantaged members to feel connected, accepted and valued while having creative fun. “I love what we create, it's powerful and I love seeing the audience really getting the message. It shows to me that I can be creative and make a difference." a young member said.

Byron Youth Theatre’s first company was twelve members aged between 15 and 21 years from local high schools and two school leavers in their gap year.  Through a range of facilitated drama processes, they created a performance piece exposing the problems of underage drinking at parties.  This became an integral part of Project U-Turn, a Byron Youth Service initiative that held workshops in local schools, providing practical knowledge on anti-binge drinking and safe partying.  

NRCF funding in 2011 helped the Youth Theatre create the production Calling The Shots -- an extremely powerful performance on binge drinking, and issues of addiction and abuse. It was seen by approximately 1,000 students, teachers, parents and community members; receiving rave reviews with pleas for more theatre shows in schools.

The Youth Theatre also created some hard hitting scenes about drink driving as part of the STEER project, spearheaded by Phil Preston.  These were delivered to year 10 students in November last year. 

Through the continued support of NRCF and other funding bodies, the Youth Theatre now has eighteen company members.  The eleven new members are currently engaged in a project exploring mutual respect between young and senior members of the community.  Two professional senior actors are working with the Youth Theatre to create a piece called My Path and Yours to be previewed in schools in late May.

The 2012 NRCF grant will enable the Youth Theatre to explore and create a new production Mind Made Me.  This production deals with the area of mental health and self harming that was nominated by young company members as extremely important and vital to expose through performance.  The production will commence in schools from August 2013. Director of the Youth Theatre, Lisa said the members are really appreciative of NRCF for providing funding that enables them to be part of a dynamic, productive and fun group for free.  

The Byron Youth Theatre continues to inspire through the process of creating theatre projects with an invaluable and unique ability to touch both participants and audience in a dynamic and authentic way.  As the driving force behind it, Lisa believes that our society, community and culture depends on our ability to create meaningful stories that are shared frequently in engaging ways.  

Picture: Byron Youth Theatre Company with Mike Russo and Lani Moani, professional actors who have joined for the My Path and Yours project.