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Sydney Theatre Company:
Touring and Education Program

What

A program - including live performance, theatre experience and behind-the-scenes insights - that offers a suite of educational experiences for students in NSW who generally do not have access to such opportunities.

Why

The absence of exceptional live theatre experiences to some school students who have little opportunity to engage with live theatre performance; the recognition that value-added programs, through the medium of the arts, can act as change agents at a community level, while simultaneously offering transformative creative experiences for individuals.

How

  • Tours to STC venues by students, the experience of live performance, followed by participation in discussions with theatre artists.
  • Family access opportunities for disadvantaged young people.
  • School tours targeting challenging areas, e.g. Sydney’s South West.

Outcomes

With the assistance of annual support from the Caledonia Foundation, thousands of students in Priority Funded Schools have been exposed to quality theatre experiences, which would have been otherwise unavailable due to economic and geographic barriers.

Impact

Caledonia Foundation believes in the powerful civilizing role of the arts in society. As the STC’s joint Artistic Director, Cate Blanchett, elegantly described it: “Creativity is at the heart of every successful nation. It finds expression in great visual art, wonderful music, stunning writing, and countless other forms. Giving form to our innate human creativity is what defines us to ourselves and the world. This is what the arts have always done.” While it can be difficult to measure the tangible impacts of this kind of outreach and education program, we believe that longer-term individual engagement by participants with theatre specifically, and the arts generally, is just one likely outcome.

As the following quote from a student suggests, engaging with theatrical productions also encourages students to examine critical issues such as personal safety, familial relationships and responsibility for personal behaviour.

"Taboo was an educational play. It was a confronting, inspiring, powerful play. It was a play that helped us realise the reality and consequences of internet dating...lying to our parents, underaged drinking and meeting people over the internet. This play changed our lives." – Student, Liverpool Girls High School.

Partner Statement – Sally Noonan, Sydney Theatre Company

“Sydney Theatre Company’s education program is comprehensive. Each year it includes productions designed specifically for secondary school students, workshops for students and teachers that relate directly to the curriculum and schools days that allow students to see a range of outstanding mainstage work and engage with the artists who have created it. STC does all this independent of government money.

We believe in the power of theatre to illuminate issues and heighten our collective experience. Thousands of students study The 7 Stages of Grieving as part of the NSW secondary school curriculum and yet only a fraction of that number has the opportunity and means to see a performance. As one student who did see The 7 Stages of Grieving early in 2007 succinctly wrote afterwards:

It doesn’t matter what I write, it matters what the performance did for me.

STC’s access program funded by The Caledonia Foundation influences the lives of students like these. Through the program we aim to extend our reach to provide a larger number of students from every social and economic background the opportunity to appreciate plays as they’re intended to be seen, in a live performance.”

- Sally Noonan, Head of Development, Sydney Theatre Company

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