In 2019 Arena Theatre Company piloted a new initiative in Bendigo to incubate the creation of new performance works for children and young people. Some of the most highly regarded companies and creative teams from around Australia came together at Bendigo’s Capital Theatre for a week, to work on their newest projects, and to discuss their thoughts and ideas.
Through The Bendigo Studio program, Arena supports professional theatre companies to develop new work.
The Bendigo Studio provided 7 creative teams with resources (spaces, mentors and professionally trained actors) to develop a new theatre work. Participating companies enjoyed opportunities to network, share skills and ideas, seek advice and discuss issues relating to the professional Theatre for Young Audiences sector.
The high calibre of participating artists included creative teams from Arena, Barking Gecko, ATYP and Polyglot. Independent artists Fleur Kilpatrick and Sarah Walker, and playwrights Dan Giovannoni and Amelia Evans who held readings of their new play, Mad as a Cute Snake which premiered at the Melbourne Fringe Festival in September 2019. The Bendigo Studio also hosted local artists Megan Beckwith, and Paris Balla and her team. “It was a fantastic opportunity for local artists to develop their networks nationally and benefit from the extraordinary depth of experience that will be in Bendigo during that week,” says Leavesley.
The Bendigo Studio is a powerful networking opportunity for artists and presenters that leverages influence for the sector as a whole. It also provides much needed support for independent artists and pathways for graduating theatre artists. Most importantly for children and young people, The Bendigo Studio assists in the development of a raft of new projects created especially for them.