CHYA expands into experimental performance

September 5, 2019 BY

The Market is a Wind-up Toy written and directed by James Jackson. Photo: SARAH WALKER

Geelong’s Courthouse Youth Arts (CHYA) has launched a new performance program in a move to champion emerging artists who are unafraid of taking contemporary risks.

The new Creative Development Program has been described as an “ongoing initiative”, a chance to give rising talents the tools to produce experimental and thought-provoking performance art for the region.

While its objective is explicit, the Creative Development Program also signals a new direction for CHYA, with next year’s program launch locked in for November 26.

Successful applicants from the first round include Kate Speakman, Louise Richardson and James Jackson. Courthouse Youth Arts’ producer Joshua Allen said the association was proud to support the three artists at a “burgeoning stage” in their careers.

“Courthouse Youth Arts’ Creative Development Program was created in direct response to the lack of opportunities for young performance makers in Geelong, and the uncertainty of ongoing support provided to emerging playwrights by peak organisations such as Playwriting Australia and Australian Plays,” he said.

“During an unstable political and arts funding climate, there is a significant need to support emerging performance makers in taking creative risks and to present audiences with socially challenging work that might otherwise go unmissed.”

Performances selected as part of the program include an ensemble about space exploration and climate change, a solo work on grief and loss, and a “makeshift” United Nations’ assembly which will see performers interact with the audience in an attempt to “fix” the future.

The projects will be developed between now and November. Each artist will receive in-kind venue hire, marketing and producing support, and the potential for their work to be presented in 2020.

For more information on CHYA, visit

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