It’s been a tough couple of years for young Victorians. As if being a teenager isn’t hard enough, try doing it in the middle of a global pandemic amidst lockdowns, uncertainty and the challenges of remote learning. In the current global climate, where hope and optimism can feel like acts of rebellion, MTC is excited to bring relevant, in-person theatre designed specifically for a secondary school audience to geographically remote students.
Playwright Dan Giovannoni wants to speak directly to a teenage audience in his new work SLAP. BANG. KISS. ‘I’d been thinking about the myths we are told about teenagers – that they’re all apathetic, apolitical, disinterested. The teenagers I meet are engaged, curious, angry and keen to be listened to. I wanted to write something that rejected the idea of a teenager as a smelly grump sulking in their bedroom.’
Commissioned by MTC as part of its NEXT STAGE Writers’ Program, SLAP. BANG. KISS. follows three teenagers whose actions transform them into global symbols of revolution. Exploring themes of activism, community and hope, the play seeks to empower young people to change the world. ‘There’s lots to be scared about in the world. That might always have been the case, but right now this time on Earth feels particularly overwhelming,’ Giovannoni says. ‘It’s easy to feel small in a big world, and easy – especially for young people – to feel small, to feel ignored, to feel like they have to wait until they’re adults to become respected members of society with valid opinions that might be listened to … I wanted the play to be an invitation to young people stepping into the world – an opportunity to see folks like them leading change, demanding their voices be heard.’
The SLAP. BANG. KISS. tour aims to reach 1,500 students and educators across four venues in Melbourne and regional Victoria. For many, it will be their first opportunity to attend a professional theatre production. Jeremy Rice, Head of Education & Families at MTC sees this as a key part of what the MTC regional tour has to offer. ‘Fundamentally, we facilitate that very first experience. We try and then add value to that experience, so that theatre becomes a part of young people’s lives.’
MTC will offer free post-show Q&As with members of the cast and technical team, as well as Education Packs to help guide students’ learning as part of curriculum activity.
For MTC Executive Director & Co-CEO Virginia Lovett, the integration of the touring production and associated digital resources is key to the meaningful and ongoing support MTC provides to regional students. ‘We give them the live [performance] experience but they can also have all of these digital experiences as well, and get backstage [virtually].’ Lovett explains, ‘We don’t want to be that fly-in fly-out presence in regional towns. We want to support and scaffold the young people’s experiences that they have with MTC over a longer period.’
MTC’s regional tour is a vital part of our expansive Education program, generously supported by MTC’s Education Giving Circle.
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Published on 26 April 2022