The University of Melbourne research team are working with eight project partners that comprise theatre companies, regional performing arts venues, and two peak bodies. The project partners are:






  • Arena Theatre Company

    Arena Theatre Company is powered by the twin drivers of art and audience: creating inspiring live performance known for genuine engagement with young people aged 5 – 25. High quality, original, artistically ambitious theatre defines Arena’s success. We believe in theatre’s unique ability to provide a space of reflection, celebration and transformation for young people. We provide a theatrical space to which everyone is invited, on equal terms. Our aim is to speak to young people in languages they understand, in the spaces they occupy, but in ways they never thought possible. Arena is a national leader, working in a diversity of forms, with Australia’s best artists. Arena presents performances at major arts centres, international festivals, regional arts centres, local festivals and schools. We contribute to international conferences, and arts markets. The Creative Convergence team has been working Arena Theatre Company for twelve months. The focus is a series of participatory workshops with young people in East Gippsland.



    ARTHUR, led by director Paige Rattray and producer Belinda Kelly, is an independent theatre company that makes new Australian work, both text-based and devised. We work with a group of key collaborators and writers; the latter as individuals, teams and a writing collective. ARTHUR’s production of Bright World will provide a rich case study for the Creative Convergence project during 2018-2019. Bright World by Elise Hearst & Andrea James 1938. Europe burns. Young Jewish couple Hans and Alice Herskovics mount a dangerous escape from Nazi-occupied Vienna. Half a world away, after a lifetime advocating for the rights of his own people, Yorta Yorta leader William Cooper leads a deputation to the front door of Melbourne’s German Consulate. His message – the persecution of the Jewish people must stop. Nearly eighty years later, two playwrights come together on page and stage to explore the legacy of their ancestors in a unique cross-cultural collaboration. What makes a hero? Who can pull off the best 90’s flashback? Whose dog is smartest? Whose oppression largest? From Austria to Australia, from a Deb Ball in Benalla to a Brighton Bat Mitzvah, Bright World is a genre-bending trip into the heart of our history-making.


  • Bell Shakespeare

    The Bell Shakespeare vision is to create theatre that allows audiences of all walks of life to see themselves reflected and transformed through the prism of great writing. Bell Shakespeare believes our greatest resource is the capacity to imagine and to transform: to picture a different world, to know that it can be one of our own making – and we can be both its creator and a character within it. Bell Shakespeare has an extensive learning program. Since John Bell founded Bell Shakespeare in 1990, the company has had one unchangeable vision – to make Shakespeare accessible for all Australians, regardless of age, geographic location or socioeconomic challenge.


  • Creative Victoria

    Creative Victoria is the state government body dedicated to championing, growing and supporting Victoria’s creative industries. We invest in the ideas, talent, organisations, events and projects that make Victoria a creative state. The creative industries encompass disciplines as diverse as games development and graphic design; fashion and film-making; independent theatre and industrial design; comedy and craft. In bringing together these diverse but interconnected sectors, Creative Victoria fosters new opportunities for innovation, collaboration, cross-promotion and economic growth, both across the creative industries and in the broader community. We work to raise the profile, reach and impact of Victoria’s creative industries, support the career development of local artists and creative professionals, and ensure that all Victorians benefit from creative and cultural opportunities – from school kids to diverse communities to businesses. Creative Victoria also manages a comprehensive research program which supports creative development across the State and enhances and broadens Creative Victoria’s programs and service delivery.


  • Geelong Performing Arts Centre

    Geelong Performing Arts Centre (GPAC) was built on the enthusiasm and commitment of the Greater Geelong Community with a need for a high-quality facility for the benefit of our artists and audiences. GPAC opened in 1981 with performing arts, functions, events and customer service in mind. With over nine spaces, it boasts two theatres, conference and event spaces, a bar and cafe. Today it is a well utilised facility providing a wide range of performances and events and the opportunity for participation in the performing arts. The organisation is committed to excellence in all that it does, ensuring an exciting and bright future. gpac:ed aims to give students from kindergarten to year 12 an authentic way to connect with and develop performing arts skills with access to professional theatre spaces and artists. Skills developed within the gpac:ed programs can be applied back at school or further utilised within the workforce.


  • HotHouse Theatre

    HotHouse Theatre is an adventurous producer and presenter of high quality Australian theatre, and a centre for artistic retreat and development. Located on the border of regional NSW and Victoria, we also provide artistic and professional development programs for the communities of Albury-Wodonga, and the surrounding regions of Southern NSW and North East Victoria. Through the power of new Australian theatre, HotHouse explores compelling ideas and inspire our community to embrace creativity. Its mission is to be a creative force in Australian theatre-making and a cultural force in our regional community. HotHouse provides high quality workshops for the young people in the area who are interested in the arts, or who just want a fun and affordable way to spend the holidays. They offer meaningful, relevant and accessible professional development for teachers. They aim to inspire and empower the local community to use the creative arts as a vehicle for learning in all areas.


  • Melbourne Theatre Company

    MTC is Melbourne’s home of live storytelling, producing an annual mainstage season of up to 12 plays, NEON Festival of Independent Theatre, the Cybec Electric play readings series, an annual Education program, and more.

    MTC is one of the major performing arts companies in Australia, and one of the largest theatre companies in the English-speaking world. Founded in 1953, MTC is also the oldest professional theatre company in Australia, and currently exists as a semi-autonomous department of the University of Melbourne

    MTC’s award-winning Education Program reaches thousands of young people across Victoria every year. We bring world-class productions into the realm of Education and tour to some of the most remote schools in Victoria. Our Betty Amsden Youth Scholarship Course offers an immersive drama experience to students with limited access to the arts, and MTCAmbassadors are welcomed into the MTC family for a year of theatrical adventures. We also support the study of VCE Drama and Theatre Studies through targeted workshops, talks and resources.


  • Regional Arts Victoria

    Regional Arts Victoria inspires art across the state. Through creative facilitation, touring, education, specialised resources, artistic projects and advocacy, we develop and sustain creative communities and artistic practice all over Victoria.

    Regional Arts Victoria is an independent, not-for-profit, membership-based organisation working in long-term partnerships with every level of government, fostering contemporary and innovative regional cultural practice across five decades. We advise and impact on decision-making across multiple portfolios and levels of government.

    Regional Arts Victoria is the peak body for regional artists and arts organisations, and the leading organisation for regional creative practice in Victoria.

    From 2017, Regional Arts Victoria’s key strategic focus shifts from place to practice, developing the artistic practices and creative organisations that inspire art across the state through:

    • PARTNERSHIPS: Regional Arts Victoria facilitates the partnerships, the organisations and the practices that create new work.
    • PROGRAMMING: Regional Arts Victoria nurtures the experts who foster local artistic experiences and stimulate young minds.
    • PROJECTS: Regional Arts Victoria presents major artistic projects that build local artistic leadership and legacy. 

    Regional Arts Victoria will empower artists, venues and communities in our regions to see their creative practice as a driver of their local community, their creative work as a driver of their local culture, and themselves as drivers of creative places.


  • Theatre Network Australia

    The organisation was founded as Theatre Network Victoria in 2009 by nine Victorian companies in response to an urgent need for sector development, as evidenced by a 2007 Deloitte report showing the fragile nature of the small to medium sector. The success of the 18-month project resulted in annual funding from (then) Arts Victoria.

    We recognised that the theatre sector across Australia was also in need of an organisation to represent them and support their work. Following the 2009 Australian Theatre Forum (ATF), we successfully proposed to the Australia Council to take stewardship of the ATF, producing the subsequent biennial forums. We also received Australia Council project funding to help establish and support theatre network organisations around Australia.

    In 2016 we started trading as Theatre Network Australia (TNA), in recognition of the national scope of our work, and also took on the representation of Young People and the Arts Australia’s (YPAA) constituency.

    We have since increased our representation of the performing arts sector nationally to include hybrid and interdisciplinary work, dance, physical theatre and circus, and we currently host the ASSITEJ Australia ‘office’.



Creative Convergence: Enhancing Impact in Regional Theatre for Young People