A smoking ceremony conducted by Boon Wurrung Senior Elder Arweet Carolyn Briggs and Jaeden Williams at MTC headquarters launched Melbourne Theatre Company’s 2017 Indigenous Scholarship Program last month.

Nine young people from Victoria and Western Australia have been selected to take part in this one-of-a-kind learning opportunity for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people interested in the performing arts.

The students will visit MTC each school holiday for a week at a time to participate in a series of intensive workshops designed to demonstrate first-hand how a theatre production comes together from the initial concept to performance.

Seven of the participants come from across regional Victoria including Swan Hill, Shepparton, Traralgon and Cape Woolamai and also around Melbourne, while two of the scholarship recipients will be travelling the huge distance from the Kimberley region in Western Australia to take part in the program.

In their first week the focus was on getting to know Melbourne as a potential place to live, work and study. The group experienced a range of performances including Faith Healer, Lord of the Flies, a Melbourne International Comedy Festival show and a rehearsal performance by Ilbijerri Theatre Company. They also participated in a comedy workshop with Sean Choolburra, a writing workshop with Tammy Anderson and visited Melbourne Museum and ACMI.

The grandmother of one of the participants wrote to us about her grandson’s involvement. ‘He is absolutely loving the intensive experience which is so perfect and excellent timing for creating positive change. Thank you so much for offering him the place’.

MTC Executive Director Virginia Lovett said, ‘Our Indigenous Scholarship Program aims to give those interested in a career in the creative industries an insight into the many different roles and potential career pathways available to them. The 2017 group have already shown a range of interests and experience and we’re thrilled to be able to support each of them on their journey to pursuing their career aspirations and telling their own stories.’

Generously supported by the Crown Resorts and Packer Family Foundations, MTC’s Indigenous Scholarship Program is offered in partnership with the Wilin Centre for Indigenous Arts and Cultural Development at the Victorian College of the Arts.

MTC’s Indigenous Scholarship Program is part of the Company’s Sharing the Light initiative, designed to reduce barriers some young people face in accessing arts education and learning opportunities.

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