Welcome to the Allied Arts Festival!

This is a four-day (April 25 – 29th) event where allied health meets the arts — a series of workshops and events for our young friends with disabilities and their families. These events were co-facilitated by artists and allied health practitioners.

Big thanks to our allied health practitioners, artists and team for being involved in our festival!


  • Caitlyn Larsson
  • Sam Wannan
  • Jodie O’Regan
  • Kelly Ramsay
  • Mel Sargent
  • Stuart Watkinson
  • Jo Greathead
  • Lyn Antsey
  • Samara Nield
  • Elise Thompson
  • Ellen Graham
  • Peter Cortissos
  • Stefan Hirshi
  • Fiona Loken
  • Rowen Hurrell
  • Zoe Lathbury


The magic of lullabies is that they celebrate and strengthen family bonds and bring real music into our children’s lives. Lullabies are songs we sing to young ones. Through writing new lullabies together, we can nurture families and each other.


Jodie and Kelly, musicians from the Lullaby Project Australia, joined us for four sessions of writing and recording lullabies

Big thanks to Connecting the Dots in Music for being part of the Allied Arts Festival! This specific event was made possible thanks to the Suzanne Elliott Charitable Trust.

Horses and heroes

Participants went on a real life quest with horses! After dressing the ponies up in adventure-appropriate attires, our brave little participants lead them through a magical journey of obstacles. Our horses and heroes were bonded for life after this quest together!


Thanks Miracle Park Stables and Stuart Watkinson for putting together a wonderful adventure!

You guys (RYT) can add one new referral to Miracle Park Stables as an outcome for your project evaluation! We went back again today and Mel is going to send me a referral form! Horse therapy is way better than talking therapy!  

– Participant at Horses and Heroes event 


So I drove home from the stables with tears in my eyes. Happy tears though. Today would be five years since (name withdrawn) was discharged from the Women’s and Childrens Hospital. A week prior to her discharge we were told to prepare not to come home with her, or that she’d be severely disabled. Seeing her on that horse made me feel so proud of how far she has come, and her bravery perfectly portrayed her journey over the last five years. I will write this more formally and send to you, RYT Stuart, and Miracle Park Stables, but I thought I’d send it to you now as a bit of motivation to get through a big weekend, and as a reminder of why you’re doing it and its benefit to families.


– Participant at Horses and Heroes event 


Using animal strength cards, Jo Greathead and Lyn Antsey lead participants through creating their own unique animal that represents you based on their own personalities. Participants decided whether they would be a relaxed, cuddly, proud cross between Sloth, Koala and Lion—aka Sloalion? Or a silly, smart, friendly cross of Monkey, elephant dog – aka Monephog? They spend the session designing and painting, exploring their emotions.


Thanks to Jo Greathead and Lyn Antsey for running this session!


Participants joined us for a sensory food play cafe! We got to explore a wide variety of foods using all our senses. Our clown waiters, circus-inspired cutlery, and games were aimed at making meal time fun and the excitement behind discovering new foods. Imagine balancing your shredded carrots on a spinning plate, juggling the contents of the fruit bowl, and ordering your food with a magic wand that controls your clown waiters.

And who could resist having a little food fight to end the meal?


Thanks to Samara Nield, Fi Loken, Peter Cortissos and Ellen Graham for facilitating this session.

This was such an amazing experience to be a part of. For some kids, food can be a big task to comprehend (referencing our Food Play Cafe event).


The Allied Arts Festival had such a huge impact on the community, giving kids a safe space to experiment with food, the textures and taste of it, but in a no pressure environment was really empowering.It definitely culminated into a huge messy food fight, and I may have been covered head to toe in jelly and burgers after it all finished, but it was a lot of fun, and such a great silly way to allow kids to experiment with food in a different way.


The huge amounts of work that have gone into this has been mind blowing. I was so happy to be asked to come help out at this Festival. To see the impact that the Allied Arts Festival and The Riverland Youth Theatre is having on kids and community in the Riverland is nothing short of inspiring. It really shows that a theatre can be so much more than just somewhere to put plays on. It’s become a communal beacon and safespace for so many kids and their families. 

Peter Cortissos, Clowning Around Cafe Clown


From face masks, to bath bombs, self care is all the rage, and we want to get in on the action while celebrating body neutrality! You don’t have to love, or even like, your body, to accept and care for it. Our participants learned to mix colourful spa potions and discovered how to paint their feelings with non-toxic, kiddo-friendly ingredients. Our participants learned about self-compassion, while painting themselves and each other with brightly coloured health goo.


Thanks to Elise Thompson and Jo Greathead for facilitating this session.

Feeling grateful to have said yes to participating in RYT’s inaugural Allied Arts Festival. Met some amazing people and got pushed to demonstrate more hands on creativity than I have ever had to before (think making soap and bath bombs FROM SCRATCH!) We are so lucky to have an organisation like RYT in the Riverland, working to develop innovative events like this. Can’t wait to see what the future holds! 


– Elise Howie, Clinical Psychologist 


We used maps as story telling tools. Maps are a huge part of fantasy stories or even playing games like Dungeons and Dragons. Stuart Watkinson spent a session teaching us how to make our very own maps from the worlds that exist in our minds.


Thanks to Stuart Watkinson for facilitating this session.


Be big and make big art! Our participants worked together to paint a giant canvas to celebrate and appreciate ourselves and explore what it is that makes us strong!


Thanks to Lyn Anstey for facilitating this session.


Aerial is a fun and explorative way to engage touch, sight and hearing to promote creativity, curiosity and problem solving. In this session, Fit to Fly’s Fi Loken showed us plate spinning, ribbon twirling, aerial silks and lyra!


Thanks to Fit to Fly and Fi Loken for facilitating this session.

This festival was possible thanks to the Rural Health Innovation Fund supported Country SA PHN.

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