Over a week, young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders from grades 6-10 participated in drama and storytelling workshops. At the end of the week, students were invited to share what they had created with the broader community.
Importantly, as JUTE returned to locations its previously visited, the program is helping create consistent connections to community, with First Nations artists delivering opportunities for Indigenous young people to build their self-confidence and self-esteem, as well as their skills in teamwork, writing and performance. By learning from performing arts professionals, students also learn about the arts – an area that most teachers have little capacity to teach.
Another Mapoon teacher said "Children who were hesitant to join in were more outgoing and willing to put themselves in the spotlight. They were more confidant of 'having a go' and willing to get out of their comfort zones."
The kids were highly-engaged, leaning into the story from the first moments the actors came on stage. A Yarrabah Elder, reported that The Longest Minute was the exact story of his granddaughter's experience of wanting to play professional football, so the community could all connect with the story.
The students loved the comical moments in the play, and the teachers and community members were sometimes laughing at how much the kids were laughing.
When the young people were asked whether they enjoyed the show, the most common response was "Eyah Uncle, that be deadly."
Story courtesy of The Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR).