Byron Youth Theatre Wins Award
Byron Youth Theatre are celebrating the recent news that they received the WayAhead, Mental Health Association of NSW, Media and The Arts Award for several of their productions.
WayAhead is a not-for-profit organisation that has been dedicated to promoting mental health and wellbeing for over 80 years. Out of the eight categories the Media and The Arts recognises individuals or organisations who have created thoughtful, informative and responsibly reported media and/or artistic projects relating to mental health illness. The nominations this year were reported to be of an incredibly high standard, and the judging panel found BYT’s nomination to be one of two standouts in the category.
Established in 2010, Byron Youth Theatre have produced thirteen educationally based, youth governed productions (performances and workshops) on issues relating to binge drinking, drink driving, compassionate connections between generations, mental health (anxiety, depression, body image, non suicidal self harm), adolescent sexual health, illicit drug use, LGBTIAQ+youth, domestic and family violence, bullying connected to youth suicide, racism and prejudice and upstander/anti-bullying and issues of abuse.
Facilitated by Director Lisa Apostolides, Company members aged between 16-25 years have created these original works through detailed research, interviews, surveys, improvisation, script writing, sharing lived experiences and professional theatre training. Byron Youth Theatre have established strong connections and partnerships with local and national services that support their work, these include NSW Health, Youth Action, Reach Out.com, Beyond Blue, headspace, Women’s Resource Service and the Mental health Association of NSW.
To date they have delivered 189 performances and 86 workshops reaching an audience of approximately 8,000 young people, teachers, parents and community members. Byron Youth Theatre regularly involves other young people in paid employment for set, prop, costume, music and lighting design. Their work has been recognised twice in the Parliament of NSW Legislative Assembly as well as by Byron Council for their contribution to the health and wellbeing of the youth of Northern Rivers Region NSW.
This year BYT are collaborating with The Joyality Program, Renew Festival, Byron Bay Community Association and Byron Youth Service to develop a production which focuses on issues of eco anxiety and ecological despair. It will provide practical strategies for young people to manage these increasing mental health issues fostering resilience and support. After the school tour, there will be two public performances at the Brunswick Picture House in late November. In 2021, they will be collaborating with the Centre for Children and Young People at Southern Cross University on a project which explores the mental health impact on growing up in a prominent tourist destination.