2018 Young Performers at Phoenix program recipients
On 19 December the first showing of the Young Performers at Phoenix program took place.
Betiel Beyin screened two episodes of a brand new web series, I can’t even, a coming of age story inspired by the young African diaspora in Melbourne’s West. Madeleine Kerr and Karla Livingstone-Pardy presented a play reading of, Our Very Best, a brand new play inspired by the 2016 AFL Grand Final Victory and obviously of great local significance with the Western Bulldogs’ victory.
Around 50 people came to view the showing, including personnel from the Arts Centre, Melbourne Theatre Company, Western Edge Youth Arts, City of Melbourne’s Signal, Emerging Writer’s Festival and the St Albans Community Centre (run by Brimbank City Council).
The audience gave feedback after each showing and then were invited to network with the young play writers after, which they did until we had to boot them out of the hub.
The young performers’ feedback attest to the crucial role initiatives like these have in the careers of diverse young creatives.
Madeline: “Every interaction we’ve had with Phoenix has left us with a positive feeling about our practice as artists. As young people, professional art spaces or institutions can make us feel underrated or even useless as artists, and usually no agency is given to us. With Phoenix, it’s the complete opposite, it’s obvious that the people genuinely care the work we are creating and the future of our artistic careers. It’s validation we desperately need but are rarely given. The Young Performer in Residence program was an incredible incentive for young people in the west to keep creating work. We are so underrepresented in the arts industry yet we have so many rich and diverse stories to tell, so why wouldn’t the community want to hone those voices? There’s no other residency program quite like this and it would be a shame and a disservice to the young community not to see this continue. I think it’s the council’s responsibility to encourage and support the creative community, especially because there’s such a lack of support on a government level. Hearing other people’s stories makes for a more a more empathetic and loving community and I think that’s really important."
Betiel: “You made this process so easy and accessible for young creatives in the west! I feel like my quote on quote ‘career’ has had a jump start and that’s all because of the encouragement I received from Rani Pramesti and Phoenix Youth Centre to create. The space, time, money and networking opportunities they offer is fantastic. An open space for diverse young group of people is what we’re missing and what we need to see more of!!"
Below are some images of our inaugural well-deserving recipients.