Byron Youth Theatre

B.Y.T (Byron Youth Theatre)


Click here for a video about B.Y.T

Are you a young person aged between 14 - 25 who is interested in being part of a Youth Theatre group in Byron? B.Y.T. will be holding auditions between AUGUST  - OCTOBER for those who have a passion for performing. You will need to be a team player, dedicated and committed to creating unique theatre with other young people. Currently members meet on TUESDAY 4 - 6pm at the Youth Activities Centre, I Gilmore Crescent, Byron Bay. Weekend rehearsals are also required near performance dates.

If this sounds like something you would like to be a part of, call Lisa on 0403 023 693 or go to our facebook page Byron Youth Theatre and leave a message.

Byron Youth Theatre is engaging a group of young people from the local community in researching, writing, devising, producing and performing educational shows and workshops on a range of youth issues.

The objectives of BYT is to provide:

  • local professional training in researching, writing, devising, producing and
  • performing for the local young people in the Company
  • allow young people to express their views, opinions and ideas in a safe, creative environment
  • facilitate Company members in producing new, original pieces of theatre to be performed at a local and National level.
  • offer practical strategies, through the shows and workshops, that young people can access to deal with a range of youth issues
  • foster a dedication in young people towards solving challenges they face in the world around them
  • empower young people through performing arts

BYT in 2014

This has been a most prolific year already for the Company. Having successfully secured another Northern Rivers Community Foundation grant and with further funding from Byron Youth Council and the PASH Consortium, BYT developed an incredibly powerful piece titled PASH : Positive Adolescent Sexual Health. This was presented at a North Coast Sexual Health Conference in April attended by over 400 people. The response was overwhelmingly positive with interest expressed to develop it into an educational resource in the future.

BYT was able to deliver a public performance of PASH which was well attended eliciting the same response of “This should be seen by every school student, teacher, parent and those working with young people”

BYT have been invited to present at the next PASH conference to be held next year

PASH video 1

PASH video 2

Director Lisa Apostolides was also successful in securing a Country Arts Support Program Grant ( Regional Arts NSW) to further develop the Company’s production Mind Made Me (see BYT 2013). The Company have been invited to present this work at a conference produced by Australian Society for Psychological Medicine, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and the National Faculty of Specific Interests to be held in Byron this September.

BYT were delighted to receive recognition of this important work on a range of mental health issues faced by young people last month when Byron Council were awarded an Arts & Cultural Local Government Award. The BYT performance was the deciding factor for the award category of Arts and Health.

Several BYT members were once again invited to the Byron Bay Blues festival entertaining festival goers with the fabulous brain suit and quirky interviews on having fun without getting messy!

The most recent project, The Ballad Of Phony Maggot, a satirical, slightly political whacky piece of Street Theatre was made possible by a Byron Youth Council, Youth Activities Grant. In response to the governments cuts to a range of Youth programs, the Company have had fun creating a piece using a creative medium to express their disappointments and frustrations. This piece will premiere at this years Splendour in The Grass festival, then will be performed during Brisbane Fringe Festival at West End Markets on August 23rd. The Company are eager to hear if they have been accepted to this years Mullum Music Festival and Woodford Folk Festival at the end of the year. It has also been booked by Crankfest for 2015. Wonderful news arrived recently that BYT are the recipients of a Nortec Employment and Training Community Grant to produce a new work that will focus on illicit drug use in 2015.

BYT in 2013

At the start of 2013, BYT engaged 10 new members from Byron & Mullum High School. Having successfully secured an NRMA Motoring & Services grant, BYT developed an emotive piece titled “My Path & Yours”. On one level this explored the use of public footpaths by young and elderly people but on a deeper, more profound level it examined compassionate intergenerational relationships and the consequences of the lack of them in today’s society.

For this project, Director, Lisa Apostolides enlisted the expertise of 2 local senior professional actors to work with Company members. The process of creating the work thus reflected the core objective of the project. The piece was well received by Year 7 students and seniors alike culminating in a special performance during Seniors Week at Mullumbimby High School attended by many elders of the community and the Mayor. Much was learnt, shared and discovered by all Company members with Mike Russo & Lani Pua Moani who we are extremely honoured to have worked with.

In April several BYT members were able to attend Byron Bay Blues Festival dressed up as the brain and accompanied by Lisa Apostolides & Mandy Morris ( local actor) conducting whacky interviews about having fun without getting messy. We are very grateful to Blues & Peter Noble for being able to participate.

The next major work titled MIND MADE ME developed in 2013 was one initiated by Company members as well as Byron Youth Council members. The young people involved in these groups expressed deep concern with growing numbers of peers who were self harming and suffering from anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. With grant funding from Northern Rivers Community Foundation, Byron Youth Council and Australia Mental health Association, BYT was able to create its most powerful piece of theatre to date. It required a high level of talent and skill from the 7 Company members chosen to create Mind Made Me.

The process facilitated by Lisa Apostolides was particularly challenging and therapeutic for Company members as they researched, interviewed peers, shared personal stories and consulted with health professionals. The result was an incredibly emotive piece of youth theatre that has sometimes shocked audiences but with positive effect.

Mind Made Me was incorporated into Byron Council’s Mental Health Matters School based days. It was delivered local schools along with Yoga & Mindfulness practice and Stress Less sessions aimed at high achievers. BYT deliberately chose to present to small audiences of Year 9 & 10 for more intimate experience as well as creating a safe environment in which to conduct workshop activities with their peers.

Each performance was also supported by a local psychologist and counsellor and was present during Mental health month, October 2013. Due to overwhelming positive feedback BYT were asked to present a public performance of Mind Made Me at the Drill Hall in Mullumbimby. This was well attended with many health professionals, teachers and parents encouraging BYT to take the production to more schools.

BYT hope to secure more funding to enable this.

While this was in process the other members of the Company were engaged in Playback theatre Skills Training with the Cape Byron Playback Theatre company. This was made possible by a Youth Activities Grant. The two companies had a lot of fun with the adult company being very impressed at the skill level of the youth involved. BYT presented “There’s a First Time for Everything” youth playback evening show to parents, friends and community members in November which was a huge success. Cape Byron Playback Theatre Company have given BYT an open invitation to come play with them anytime!

BYT in 2012 'Calling the Shots'

Byron Youth Theatre company have been enjoying a busy time recently performing "Calling The Shots" at Cape Byron Steiner (Years 7,8 & 9), Bryon Bay High and Mullum High (Year 7). The piece focuses on the life of a young girl who becomes addicted to alcohol with disastrous consequences. All shows were very well received with fantastic feedback from students and teachers.

BYT are looking forward to more performances over the next month at schools and for the Young People Matter fundraiser @ the YAC. They have just received a grant from NRMA in collaboration with Safe Transport Week to devise a new performance piece.

Audience Reaction to 'Calling the Shots'

"I liked the party scene because it shows how drinking can influence you", "The play was really great, I am not going to drink underage", "The play was very emotional and realistic, the girls were great, they drew me in and I felt as if i was there", " One of the best plays I've ever seen!", "Youth Theatre doesn't get much better than this!" "Just saw this terrifically moving performance at the Byron youth club. Brave and dedicated group of young actors. Really gutsy show! Support more of this!!!": Audience Member/Ray ArthurThis was one of the many appreciative comments from audience members after watching "Calling The Shots" by BYTE at the recent SLUTFEST held in Byron recently.  The company performed in front of 100 (approx) community members as part of the protest movement on June 23rd.

BYTE will be performing this show again at the up coming  fundraiser on July 5th where all donations to keep us alive and kicking will be gratefully received!

BYT in 2011

The BYT group have had a great start to the year with workshops in Playback theatre techniques through the Byron Community College Summer School and a specific Process Drama session on one aspect of binge drinking presented by local University lecturer Gaby Le Brun.

Both workshops extended the groups skills and Gaby’s one in particular gave the group some useful material to use in performance.

“It was great to use a real photo and newspaper article as stimulus for the drama as it gave an authentic edge to the process” reported BYT member Fletcher Gooley

Each member of the BYT group has undertaken research on the numerous aspects of binge drinking including effect of alcohol on brain development, local controversy over new drinking establishments and alcohol related incidents to conducting interviews with community members and parents who have teenagers.

“It has been really helpful and inspiring hearing opinions on binge drinking from various age groups. Conducting interviews has given us new ideas and insight into presenting our material from a variety of perspectives and for a range of audiences." BYT member Zia Zantis-Vinycomb

This has all provided rich material to work with while devising some performance pieces.

By meeting regularly to receive training in group devising methods and performance techniques, the members have established a strong and respectful working foundation.

“I am always delighted by how quickly and effectively the BYTERS take up each exercise or activity I offer them.  Their work is becoming more dynamic and powerful, it is captivating to watch and wonderful to be part of something so worthy.” reports Lisa Apostolides the BYT manager.

The group are looking forward to being part of the Project U-Turn presence at this years Blues festival and are currently hard at work, devising  some powerfully engaging workshops that will be presented to local schools in May.

Project U Turn and BYT present Angie's Story

The Byron Youth Theatre  has recently been presenting their original performance piece currently titled Angie's Story at local High School's to much acclaim.

The combined talent of 7 young people aged between 16 and 21 years from across the Shire, guided by Lisa Apostolides, the BYT Director has produced a well crafted and realistic performance piece focusing on many issues connected with binge drinking.

Rachel Colligan plays the part of Angie, a 13 year old whose older sister, Sam, played by Meg Mitchell, gets permission to have her 16th birthday party at home.  Both actors created a convincing love/hate sisterly dynamic which lies at the core of the piece.  The Year 7 audiences who watched the performance last week enjoyed the fun portrayal of Angie and her friend, played by Tallulah Ebbs, "gettin' on the goon" and were shocked at how so may things went wrong after.

Many parents of Year 7 students from Byron High who enjoyed a repeat performance last Monday congratulated Zia Zantis-Vinycomb and Fletcher Gooley who realistically portrayed the work weary, teenage request torn parents.  Audrey O-Carrol-Mcrae, Robby Clapham and Tallulah Ebbs are also to be congratulated for portraying double characters in the piece. Students and parents alike commented on learning new information from the Police roles undertaken by these actors at the end of the piece.



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