Byron Youth Theatre


byt_logo_

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 OCTOBER TO DECEMBER 2016 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 Byron Community Centre, 69 Jonson Street, 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 2016

Can a year get much bigger??

2016 has been so FULL we’re counting our blessings to have received even more support this year than ever before!!

The year commenced with a fantastic professional development experience with physical theatre company from Brisbane Zen Zen Zo. Made possible by a Small Change Grant from Byron Council, BYT members and guests were provided with specialised training in Butoh and Suzuki Method. It was a strenuous day full of new and exciting techniques which many guests studying HSC Drama thoroughly enjoyed.

No One Way, a production which focuses on the issues faced by LGBTIAQ+ youth was the next original theatre performance to be created by BYT. The community’s support for this production became apparent early on in the research and interview phase. So many wonderful LGBT+ community members came forward to share their experiences across a wide age range. The legendary 80’s DJ Stephen Allkins, now a Northern Rivers community member donated funds raised from one of his famous My House is Your House parties, which added to the Country Arts Support Program ( Regional Arts NSW) and Byron Council grant enabled BYT to create another stellar production which moved audience members to tears and standing ovations.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcXURhorLHQ

Immediately following from this was the 3rd year of PASH ( Positive Adolescent Sexual Health) Conference where the Consortium had requested BYT provide 6 performances in 2 days. The 13 member strong cast gave their best performances to date entertaining and educating young people in areas of sexual health such as love and intimacy, STI’s, sex and disabilities, first experiences, sex and law and transgender issues.

Next BYT went onto re rehearsing Mind Made Me, their Mental Health production for two events. The first was a Youth Health Consultation Day organised by North Coast Area Health Service where 50 young people from local high schools, TAFEs and other educational facilities were facilitated to discuss poignant issues concerning the health of young people. The scenes from Mind Made Me were extremely well received with many audience members commenting on how moved they were by the cast’s performance. The outcomes of this event will go towards informing youth health policy in NSW from 2017.

The second event is being convened by FCG Australia during October, Mental Health Month. BYT were invited to perform again for the Richmond Valley Mental health Expo as the central focus of the day. The cast are looking forward to being part of this fantastic event soon.

During this period BYT have been busy researching, interviewing and surveying community members on issues around domestic violence for their latest production called Broken. Funded by Northern Rivers Community Foundation and a donation from Splendour in The Grass this play departs from the usual vignettes style of production to portray the devastating effects of domestic and family violence on a particular family through a linear format.

Director Lisa Apostolides has engaged a local experienced actor Sam Hemphill, to play the role of the person who commits various acts of domestic and family violence against her character and that of her “ son” in the production played by BYT member Seth Freeman. The rest of the cast play supporting roles who are also affected through various ways and means in this heart wrenching, powerful production. Local high school Year 10 & 11 students will view this performance in late November along with 2 public performances delivered on Wednesday 23rd November at the Byron Theatre as part of a Public Act Theatre event and on Sunday 27th November at the Drill Hall in Mullumbimby.

In amongst all the high intense theatre productions comes the Inaugural LGBT+ and friends Fancy Formal event which was held at the Youth Activity Centre on November 12th. This included some short performances by BYT from the No One Way production an evening of DJ Stevie Stars and Sudi, dancing and celebration. Hosted by Byron Youth Service, the event has been made possible by a Small Change Grant successfully applied for by Raani Nichols ( long term member of BYT) and a Mental Health Association of NSW Small grant sponsored by ACON. Again the wonderful Stephen Allkins has stepped up to donate some more funds which will ensure all areas of the event are realised professionally.

Chef Mark Elliot did us proud with delicious canapes and awesome Thai curry. He was assisted by students studying TAFE Hospitality and Events Management who served mocktails and food on the night. The Tweed and Lismore LGBT+ youth groups attended the event as well as representatives from ACON. The event was featured on ABC TV Statewide with another feature coming soon!!

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-15/teens-celebrate-their-sexuality-at-first-lgbt-plus-fancy-formal/8026750

BYT members and Lisa are celebrating the great news that NRCF and Country Arts Support Program Regional Arts NSW have confirmed funding for their Youth Suicide prevention Production and Preventing Youth Homelessness project planned for next year, fingers crossed we get the 2 other grants applied for.

BYT in 2015

BYT have hardly had time to catch their breath this year with 5 major projects being produced!!

OUTSPOKEN

Currently in development, Outspoken is funded by the Fundability Program, Northcott

https://www.northcott.com.au

This project brings together 6 young people with disabilities with Byron Youth Theatre, Director Lisa Apostolides, Artistic Director of SPRUNG Integrated Dance Company Michael Hennessy and Dancer and Interpreter Alison Toft to create a performance which highlights issues of inclusion, belonging and identity.

The Outspoken Company are already engaged in creative exploration sessions and two public performances will be presented at the DRILL HALL, Mullumbimby on

WEDNESDAY 11TH NOVEMBER 7-9PM & MONDAY 30TH NOVEMBER 10-12NOON

ALTERED STATES, our first project in 2015 was funded by NORTEC Employment and Training Services and Northern Rivers Community Foundation. The issues around illicit drug use in youth community is complex and challenging but BYT were determined to create a performance and workshop which focused on the misuse of alcohol, cannabis and methamphetamine as requested by local youth audiences.

As part of this project BYT members received Youth Mental Health First Aid Training as well as Facilitator Training which further developed their skills to assist in workshop activities.

Director Lisa Apostolides was fortunate to be able to conduct an in-depth interview with a former ICE addict who was in recovery. This combined with detailed research with health professionals, other interviews and a youth survey gave BYT cast members strong material to start devising the piece.

ALTERED STATES was delivered to all Year 10 students at local High Schools in the Byron Shire as well as some Year 11 and 12. There was also a public performance held at the Drill Hall Mullumbimby attended by 84 community members.   The feedback was overwhelming with comments such as:

“ I am totally inspired by this Youth group, they have produced a really powerful and dynamic performance yet again”

“ I didn’t know much about ICE before and it showed how screwed up things can get”

“ I am glad they showed the mess people can get into with alcohol, there is so much of it around here”

“ It was great to see how the girl got into cannabis and how hard it was for her to find a way out”

“Byron Youth Theatre tackle the issues that schools find hard to deliver to young people, we are so lucky to have them here, thank you”

“ I wanted to stop the girl from going off with the creepy guy at the party”

“This Company needs to be recognised on a much larger scale. Their work is poignant, startling and authentic. The process they undergo is very interesting and the performance they delivered was outstanding. All schools should see this as well as all parents!”

The performance was videod by Healthy North Coast and will appear on their website

www.healthynorthcoast.org.au

Here are some clips from the production

https://vimeo.com/134482616

https://vimeo.com/134919238

https://vimeo.com/134482618

BYT was invited to perform again at the 2nd PASH Conference held in Byron Bay in June 2015. This time they were asked to deliver 5 performances instead of 2!!!

With most of the original cast and some new BYT members the piece was rehearsed to it’s high standard and was a huge success again with over 400 young people watching it over the 2 days of the conference. From the overall PASH conference evaluation process, BYT was nominated as the most informative and enjoyable experience of the entire conference. BYT have been invited to perform again next year with the Consortium recognising a need for a large venue and somehow enabling all 800 attendees access to see the performance.

https://vimeo.com/130047938

A Youth Activities Grant from Byron Council enabled BYT to create a piece of FORUM THEATRE titled “Have Your Say” to allow young people to comment on their experiences within the current education system and how they would like it to change.

Forum Theatre was developed by Brazilian born Augusto Boal as a way of empowering citizens to identify and overcome common oppressions in everyday life.

The event was held at the Civic Centre, Mullumbimby on 21st August, attended by 65 young people, teachers and parents. Three different scenes showing oppression between teachers, students and parents were shown and on a second showing audience members were invited to take the role of the protagonist and try out solutions.

The event was extremely successful with everyone who participated expressing that they felt more empowered to deal with similar situations and eager to find new ways for all stakeholders to communicate more harmoniously.

After the performance participants had the opportunity to discuss ways of improving the education system. There was a huge vote for more funding to be sourced in order to hold more Forum Theatre sessions. A video of the session will be available later this year. Please contact Lisa for more information

RICHMOND VALLEY MENTAL HEALTH EXPO INVITES BYT TO PERFORM

Director Lisa Apostolides was thrilled to let BYT members know that they have been invited to perform their Youth Mental Health piece Mind Made Me on October 22nd at Lismore City Hall as part of the Richmond Valley Mental Health Expo. This project was created with funding from Country Arts Support Program ( Regional Arts NSW) and Northern Rivers Community Foundation. The two performances will have a new cast except for Sahaj Blatt, and new scenes.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Seth Freeman and Jess Lu have both been awarded Small Change grants from Youth Council this year which will allow BYT to receive some fantastic professional development. Zen-ing with BYT will see acclaimed physical theatre company Zen Zen Zo visiting the Shire, hopefully in January 2016 to run training workshop. This will also be attended by several members of both Circus Arts and Spaghetti Circus.

“So you want to be an Actor”, Seth’s project will enable BYT members and other young people in the Shire interested in getting into the Acting profession to benefit from several workshops covering areas such as getting an agent, doing a great audition and acting for camera. For more information please contact Lisa

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.

http://www.lgnsw.org.au/eventstraining/localgovernmentartscultureawards

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 Government 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 year’s 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 year’s 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.

https://vimeo.com/101469545

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 Centre. Brave and dedicated group of young actors. Really gutsy show! Support more of this!!!": Audience Member/Ray Arthur. This 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 group’s 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 BYT members 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 crew at this year’s 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 many 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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