Made possible by the Betty Amsden Foundation, the Betty Amsden Youth Scholarship Course offers young people who have limited access to the arts an opportunity to experience the transformative power of theatre with like-minded peers from across Victoria.
In 2021, lockdowns prevented the The Betty Amsden Youth Scholarship Course proceeding in person and for the first time the program was delivered digitally. The virtual setting allowed parts of the course to be reimagined, including altering the timetable to help students navigate digital fatigue. The digital format also meant the course was more accessible for regional participants and breakout rooms allowed for peer collaboration and a unique insight into the theatre world through direct engagement with MTC staff and artists.
Lead teaching artists Katrina Cornwell and Morgan Rose guided 17 students through a series of developmental workshops that explored the artistic potential of the three Fates from Greek mythology, and the immersive performance possibilities of the Zoom stage. Support artist Sarah Hosford provided wellbeing support for the participants through the duration of the course.
Guest artists provided a series of bespoke workshops to help students explore specialised areas of theatre with the opportunity to meet industry professionals. Xanthe Beesley (movement director, Touching the Void) led a workshop on movement, MTC Associate Director Petra Kalive and actor Karl Richmond (The Lifespan of a Fact, Touching the Void) led a workshop on acting and directing and MTC Costume Coordinator and costume designer Sophie Woodward led a workshop on costume design. These workshops helped acquaint students with the inner workings of professional theatre and explore skills they were able to apply to their own theatre-making in the development of a final student-devised performance.
Alongside the core program, participants explored MTC more broadly through a digital theatre excursion, access to a dress rehearsal recording of MTC’s production of Cyrano by Virginia Gay after Edmond Rostand, and free tickets to the MTC Digital Theatre production Berlin by Joanna Murray-Smith. There are also in-person activities planned in 2022 to give students the opportunity to connect with MTC and reunite in person.
We are delighted to share some of the feedback received from those involved in the experience in 2021:
‘Considering the context of the last year, it's probably the most productive week [my daughter]’s had over the last little while. It was lovely seeing her so enthusiastic and involved. It really is proof of how important it is for each of us to find creative ways to navigate the complex terrain of our world.’ – Parent
‘[The Student] contacted me straight after the course explaining how much she enjoyed it and how wonderful it was to have like-minded people. She wishes she could meet them all, and is often alone or with one other student at school so seeing her in a supportive, like-minded group of people was amazing!’ – Teacher
‘I learnt so much more about performing and stagecraft and that I really love and value all aspects of theatre. I definitely want to continue to study theatre in the future and working with industry professionals and asking questions/listening attentively and participating in class really grew my confidence and abilities.’ – Participant
‘This course has taught me so many new things and helped me develop so many new skills. It has also made me see theatre in a completely different light and I'm sure I will remember it for the rest of my life.’ – Participant
MTC gratefully acknowledges the Betty Amsden Foundation for providing this unique development opportunity for young people from across Victoria.
Published on 23 November 2021