Secret Places


 Proving that distance is no boundary for passion, 60 young people participating in ‘Secret Places: The Connection’s project’, a creative partnership between Outback Theatre for Young People and Powerhouse Youth Theatre, will feature on the ABC Network again in October.

The story, which also aired in September, follows the remote collaboration between students from Griffith in South West New South Wales and students from Western Sydney.  Over a 10 month process that began in October 2011, young people from Griffith and Wade high schools in Griffith and Lurnea and Fairfield high schools in Western Sydney, embarked in a form of theatrical pen-palling, that bridged geographical, cultural and social divides.

Despite over 500 kilometres separating the groups, the performers used Skype to connect and plan their production, wrote letters, postcards, sent photos and exchanged objects and video messages, before meeting face-to-face in Sydney in May 2012.  In an exchange program to expand the students’ senses and minds, the city students later left the big smoke to get a taste of regional life.

Alex Walker, the project’s artistic director said the project was a pivotal step in closing the gap between city and country.

“Students were offered the rare opportunity to explore their own misconceptions and make connections with other young people from very different contexts. The results were thrilling for all involved and strong bonds were created,” she said.

With the changing face of media and the arts through technology, students were encouraged to use various mediums to plan and perfect their performances.  Two simultaneous productions were shown at the Griffith Regional Theatre and Casula Powerhouse in late June.

“Technology is a vital and powerful element of performance. OTYP focuses on creating and maintaining connections and to do this we need to use the communication systems of the young people. They lead the way with social media and are savvy consumers of technology. If we want their stories we have to utilise their tools. ABC Open was the perfect platform to share this project given its focus of Australian regional communities sharing their stories through technology,” said Ms Walker.

You can view the story on the 26th of October at 6.45pm and 10.45pm as part of ABC Open’s weekly 15 minute television show of highlights from around regional Australia. This show will also appear on iView.

It will also be presented at the same times on Fridays between now and the 26th October, also on ABC24.

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