Youth community theatre group seeks to raise awareness of neurodiversity

March 20, 2024 BY

Shining a light: The director of Bendigo Theatre Company's coming youth play centres on a neurodivergent character. Photo: SUPPLIED

THE BENDIGO Theatre Company’s Tribe Youth Theatre will be putting on its new production, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, this April.

Director and drama teacher Kerry Turpie said the play is an adaptation by Simon Stephens of the novel by Mark Haddon, which she said has been in the state’s English curriculum for a while now.

She said she got excited when the rights were released to Australia at the end of last year.

“I saw the National Theatre do a performance of this particular [story] a few years ago when it toured in Melbourne, and I loved the use of data projection and lighting in order to create the world of the play,” she said.

“It jumps around quite a bit in terms of time and place… it’s very interesting to watch the story sort of interweaving around in front of you.

“As a bit of a techie myself, I really enjoy that part of the performance and I thought well this is a really interesting way to tell a story. ”

Ms Turpie said she has been involved with community theatre for more than 20 years, said that she partly chose the play to open up conversations around neurodiversity.

“I thought it was a really good story to tell for people who don’t understand or don’t know too many people in their lives who are neurodivergent,” she said.

“We do have neurodivergent performers and production crew in the show, and it’s been really important for me to be authentic in creating a world that the main character lives in from a neurodivergent perspective.

“Hopefully it might start some really good conversations about being neurodiverse in the local area.”

There will be a cast of 14 per show, aged 12 to 19, and the crew has members as young as 11.

Ms Turpie said the cast and crew all have varying levels of experience and helped by a mentor program buddying adults and the older teenagers, by showtime the entire thing will be run by the young people.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time will be on at Bendigo Youth Theatre Company from April 4-14.

Tickets can be purchased at www.trybooking.com/events/landing/1164875.