Theatre’s Daring Dream

Theatre’s Daring Dream

Dare To Dream is more than just a bit of a touring program for Indigenous communities that offers entertainment and then leaves town after the final bow.

Post by Kathryn Ash

JUTE’s Dare To Dream is all
about the ‘if only…’
and the ‘what if…’

‘Dare to dream!’ Have you heard that phrase a few times in your life? Someone take a moment or two to encourage you to think big, try something different or step out your comfort zone? Maybe you took their advice. Maybe it made you the success you are today. Thank goodness for dreamers!

But what if daring to dream was a completely new idea to you? What if you never saw nor heard anyone who looked like you or talked like you, telling you, go ahead and give it a try? What if you had thought about doing something big but felt like you wouldn’t be able to do that thing, that thing you just know you’d be good at if only….

JUTE’s Dare To Dream is all about the ‘if only…’ and the ‘what if…’ It’s about the transformative power of theatre at its most simple, most raw, most potent.

Maurial Spearim and Alexis West in a scene from Bukal by First Nations writer, Andrea James

 

 

Dare To Dream is more than just a bit of a touring program for Indigenous communities that offers entertainment and then leaves town after the final bow. In 2016 and 2017, JUTE took two ambitious tours of an all-Indigenous cast and crew of the show Proppa Solid by First Nations writer Steven Oliver, a story of Australia’s future first Indigenous Prime Minister. That’s 29 weeks, over 11,000 kilometres covered, hauling compact sets and negotiating tough, dusty country, to 29 communities of North Queensland.

Big. Logistically on the crazy side. Just ask the Indigenous Tour Manager, PJ Rosas.

The action-packed tour had the Proppa Solid Dare To Dream team performing the work to over 2000 remote Indigenous children and adults each year, some of whom had never before seen a theatre show let alone a professional theatre production written by, performed by and about Indigenous people. Best of all, the team also stayed in each community for up to a week to guide the kids through workshops about their own daring and their own dreams. The kids performed their own pieces of theatre at the end of the workshops, stunning their teachers and parents with their new confidence.

Actor/Facilitators Mark Shepperd and Leroy Parsons deliver some workshop guidance

 

 

“it’s about them having the confidence enough to give something a try, to give it a go, and then you see the transformation in them. To go from this (eyes covered, shame) to THIS! (eyes wide, arms out embracing it)” — Mark Shepperd, Dare To Dream Proppa Solid team, Actor and workshop facilitator.

“they see us mob up there doing stuff and us saying that we stayed at school and when they find their own voice in the performing (workshops), I think it shifts their confidence and they go, wow, I can actually do this, I just have to hang in there.” – Leroy Parsons, Dare To Dream Proppa Solid, Actor and workshop facilitator.

This year has seen the second Dare To Dream production take to the road for the third year of tour and residency program. This time the show was Bukal, one of the greatest Indigenous success stories you’re likely never to have heard, that of Henrietta Marrie (Fourmile) who went from Yarrabah to the United Nations to promote the status of First Nations peoples. This inspirational tour has only just returned from a 10-week tour of remote communities, some the same communities as previous years and some new ones as well.

Again, the success of the tour is most keenly measured by the eagerness of the kids to stand up and declare their dreams in a performance at the end of the workshops. It is slowly changing the way some of those participants think of themselves and their future and changing the way their teachers, peers and community perceive them..

The continued success of the program, and the very finely-tuned cultural sensitivities that are built into the program, have made JUTE once again an industry leader.

Suellen Maunder, Artistic Director/CEO of JUTE and JUTE’s Indigenous Creative Producer, Yvette Walker are currently preparing to attend Queensland Touring Showcase. Not only will they pitch Bukal to the key industry presenters there, they have been invited to share the Dare To Dream methodology to Theatre Industry representatives attending to encourage them to connect to our Dare To Dream program.

The impact of a Dare To Dream tour is massive. Bringing positive messages of hope and examples of what creativity, passion and persistence can bring a lasting legacy to these young people. So with the Bukal tour finished, what’s next for Dare To Dream? Why The Longest Minute, of course!

The Longest Minute by Robert Kronk and Indigenous writer, Nadine MacDonald-Dowd, featuring some of the original cast members (L-R): Mark Shepperd, David Terry, Chenoa Deemal, Jeremy Ambrum and Lafe Charlton.

 

 

 

Those JUTE audiences in 2018 who laughed and cried along with this uplifting story of an Indigenous rugby-playing girl who had a dream and wouldn’t give up, will be thrilled to know this amazing show is getting a tour of those very communities full of kids who want to dream big too.

JUTE’s really proud of the program Dare to Dream. Can you tell? We know it will go from strength to strength. We know it will make a difference to so many kids and their communities, and help them dream their lives and their stories towards a bright future.

And, isn’t that what theatre dares to dream of?

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