Table of Contents
Riverland Youth Theatre (RYT) enriches the lives of young people in the South Australian Riverland and Mallee through creativity, theatre and play. For 37 years we have been making art with and for our community, empowering children and young people as artists, learners and doers.
Our artistic program includes
- Weekly classes, both in-person and online
- School holiday programs
- Special projects
- Opportunities for parents/carers to interact creatively with their children
- Classes in Schools
- Professional development for artists and educators
Our well-being program includes:
- ‘3rd Place’: offering times for young people and adults to come together in our space without expectations or structured lessons
- Pondi: our fortnightly Aboriginal Youth Group
- 1-2-1: mentoring, art and play for children and young people who thrive outside of group settings
- Art Therapy (2023, term 2)
- Life Toolkits (2023, term 3)
RYT is deeply embedded in and responsive to the needs of our Riverland community. Our team works closely with children, parents, councils, community groups and local organizations to ensure that we listen to the needs of the Riverland and respond with creative, accessible, and diverse offerings.
A short history of thirty-six years
When Riverland Youth Theatre was established in 1985 in Barmera, it was the only regional youth theatre in South Australia. Mildura’s Sunraysia Daily wrote of the company’s establishment that Barmera “had a youth unemployment problem and subsequentially a lot of young people wandering around the town. The theatre was established to provide some of those young people with an interest.” (April 23, 1987). Under the guidance of the founding director, Martin Christmas, the company grew fast and worked hard. The Border Times wrote of a sell-out performance in 1989 that RYT “has come a long way since the first performance in Pinnaroo Institute 3.5 years ago, when the company was new and only 26 people bothered to come to the Institute and see what they were all about.” (9 August 1989) By 1988, RYT had presented nine productions, and many of which explored the history of the region or serious social issues experienced by young people. RYT was incorporated in 1995 and our founding board chairperson, John Dawes, is still a member on our board today.
One of the best things about a youth company turning 36 is the way in which RYT is a part of the community here in the Riverland. We are our own extended family. Children of RYT alumni are in our classes as participants and tutors, wedding photos have been taken outside our office and a hunt through our archives will turn up Christmas letters, countless thank you notes and baby announcements. Alumni describe RYT as “a second home” and “a safe space where you could be yourself” and praise RYT for the way in which it “proactively dismantled access barriers,” and created “opportunities for leadership but also (had) lots of entry points to drop in.” We hope to continue to live up to this wonderfully rich, welcoming and accessible heritage for many years to come.
Fleur is an awarded-winning playwright, educator and theatre director. She has been making theatre for 18 years and still thinks it is the best of jobs. Read More about Fleur Here..
Kirste (she/her) is a writer, digital illustrator and producer. Kirste worked with the Ruby Award winning No Limits: Young Regional Writers team and feels strongly about providing support and guidance to young regional creatives. She lives for all things magical and ensures her work reflect that love.
Community and Digital Artist
Alysha (she/her) is an award-winning writer, performance maker and creative producer. She works remotely for Riverland Youth Theatre from her current base in Mount Gambier as our Community & Digital Artists. You can learn more about Alysha here.
I.T. and Bookings
Melanie is the IT Wizard of the office and loves integrating tech into anything. She also is an avid member of the LGBTQ+ community, and wants to make RYT a fun and safe space for all children.
Melanie also comes up with new ideas all the time for things to do, so don’t be surprised if new things get added to the events list.
Admin Assistant/Games Guru
Jay(He/Him) is a games aficionado and passionate about supporting neurodiverse kiddos. He Loves working one-on-one with children or creating Game Day Spectaculars for the community. He believes that everyone deserves a safe space to be themselves. Also likes to complain when Fleur tells him to stop working and go home.
Li (they/them) is a sculptor, scenic artist, dog parent and all-round creative human. They are part of an Adelaide-based collective EQUINOX arts and a supporter of the local music scene. They believe in the importance of building a media environment that reflects the diversity of the world we live in.
Pondi Coordinator and Lunchbox Club Captain
Katisha has a strong passion for working with the community and loves being able to be apart of creating fun activities for youth to be a part of. Katisha coordinates the Pondi program which is about a culturally safe space to learn, build connections with community and build a strong connections with elders all while having fun.
Administration – on maternity leave
Molly started out as our membership officer and has become the indispensable part of RYT. Molly is an organiser, maker, marketing guru and Fleur-wrangler.
Pussy Riot rocked up one day and announced that she was here to stay. After trying and failing to find her owners, we said ‘well she might keep the Theatre Possum and the Theatre Mice away and awwww look at her little paws and she’s purring and what if we got her a rainbow collar!’ So now we have a theatre cat.