• Message from the Artistic Director

    Another huge and exciting year kicks off at Western Edge Youth Arts.

    The education program will continue to push boundaries in 2017 – our planned programs at Whittington Primary School and North Geelong Secondary College will engage huge numbers of young people in rich educational experiences leading to fabulous performances for their school communities. We are also continuing our partnership with Victoria University Secondary College where the students will embark on the development of another radical Shakespeare adaptation of Macbeth. Penny Halpham teams up with writer Casey Nichols for this exciting gig.

    The Geelong Edge’s new work, Walking The Line, is in creative development and will show at Geelong Performing Arts Centre in October.  Concern over racism is on the march internationally and in Australia, and this uber-edgy drama explores the experience of people from diverse cultural backgrounds living in Geelong, with our trade mark mix of humour and complex drama. It’s great to have Reuben Zalme on board for this project both as a performer and as facilitator. Reuben is an amazing young artist with a long history with the company who has skills in circus, music and theatre.

    Both of our community youth theatre groups have started the year with culturally diverse older teenagers collaborating with artists like Georgia Symons, Natalie Lucic, Rex Pelman and Ror Malongdout to make unique new works.

    As I said, another huge year, but that’s what we pride ourselves on at WEYA – serving hundreds of young people and helping them to tell the stories that matter to them and their communities.

  • WEYA is seeking teaching artists

    Western Edge Youth Arts is seeking a teaching artist to work on an in-school theatre workshop program for 20 weeks culminating in a production at the end of term 3.

    Teaching artists with experience working with culturally and linguistically diverse young people to make original theatre productions are preferred. You should be able to demonstrate your ability to plan theatre workshop sessions, actively engage young people in theatre making and deliver an original theatre production with school participants.

    Casual wage contract – $50 hr Approx 3 – 4  hrs a week, starting term 2. Additional hours required during rehearsal/produciton week.

    Please send your CV to

    For enquiries contact Sally Farr, General Manager or Dave Kelman, Artistic Director Western Edge Youth Arts on 90914725.

  • Caliban at the Malthouse – Rave Reviews!

    The Edge Ensemble’s latest piece, Caliban, recently completed a season at the Coopers Malthouse in Southbank, to huge audiences and rave reviews.

    Over 450 people saw the show, and it was brilliantly received by audiences and critics alike.

    Here’s what the critics had to say:

    – ★ ★ ★ ★ Andrea Simpson ArtsHub

    “The story is fast paced, with the rhythm of a beating heart – the dialogue is layered with poetry giving extra depth to the message…”

    “They say that youth is wasted on the young. In this case they were stupendously wrong… the Edge Ensemble’s youth does not mean they lack embodied experience…”

    “Caliban’s themes parallel the cast’s diversity and the stories they all share… And who better to express the ongoing disaster that awaits the world than the people that have inherited it? It is this generation that have seen the world’s disasters unfold and finally they have a voice…”

    – ★ ★ ★ ★ Theatrepeople

    “Western Edge Youth Arts have done and continue to do remarkable work but the real accolades go to the Edge Ensemble for a clever thought-evoking message.”

    “an adaptation that wreaks perfect havoc on its source text, layering the urgency of climate change into its plot and characters.”

    Leeor Adar Theatre Press

    “Caliban tackles big ideas with humour and poignancy. This is a remarkable and highly physical performance… The performers are excellent, emotive, funny and totally humane…spirited, vibrant and painfully accurate” –

    Suzanne Sando Stage Whispers

    “Caliban is pertinent worthwhile theatre presented by a great group of very skilled young people who do a marvelous job of getting a multi-layered message across…”

    “The mix of cultures represented in the work is heartening and satisfying. And the number of cultures represented in the audience was truly something marvelous to behold. Go Western Edge!”

    And here are some comments from young people in our audience:

    “I liked everything about the climate change and how it is important to always go home. There is nothing like home.”

    “I loved being informed in an interesting way about stats on climate change, racism, a real awakening! I had tears & laughter & multiple goose bump moments.”

    “The actors were phenomenal, especially for their age; the text was wonderfully unsimplistic and multi-faceted”

    “The diversity & range of stories told – it’s rare to get that experience in the theatre these days”

    Following the success of this debut season, the Edge Ensemble will be touring Caliban in May 2018. For more information and tour enquiries, contact Sally Farr on (03) 9091 4725


  • Phoenix Rising- grand re-opening of the Phoenix Youth Hub

    We’re excited to announce Phoenix Rising, the relaunch of Phoenix Youth Hub!

    WHEN: Friday 24 June, 4pm to 7.30pm
    WHERE: Phoenix Youth Hub, 72 Buckley Street Footscray
    WHO: Anyone aged between 12-25
    COST:  Free

    The Phoenix Edge will be performing on the night, to give you a taste of their new work in 2016. The workshops have been fantastic so far. There’s still time to join so check out details on the image below if you want to experiment with theatre and performance.


    They’ll be appearing along with an awesome line-up of other talented artists, dancers, rappers, musicians and circus performers. Its an all star line-up of the absolute best of the West!

    There’ll be a Fashion Parade by the design hub Social Studio. The Social Studio celebrates the style and skills of diverse cultures, featuring young people from across the West as both designers and models. If you have a passion for fashion they’re currently seeking models from the West, so get in touch to strut your stuff! Alongside the runway will be a street photography exhibition showcasing #Westside style.


    But wait that’s not all, the event ends with a dance party! Famed local DJ MzRizk will be spinning hip hop, R n B, soul and funk tunes. It’s going to be the biggest night in June, so make sure you’re there!

    Entry is free with food and drinks included. For more info and to stay connected on updates, join the event at Facebook

  • A Letter from our Chair, Bernadette Fitzgerald on Arts funding 2016

    You may be aware of the 2015/2016 federal arts budget cuts and subsequent changes to the Australia Council for the Arts funding program that have had devastating effects on the Australian arts industry recently. As a result of these changes, Western Edge Youth Arts has been feeling the loss of the Australia Council’s Youth Arts funding of $50,000, which we received annually from 2011- 2015. To try and recoup this support we made an application for four-year organisational funding from the Australia Council for the Arts, which has been unsuccessful. While this is disappointing, we see this outcome as a result of the highly competitive nature of arts funding at present and in no way a reflection on the high quality or value of the work that we produce. However we are very pleased to announce that we have received support for the Edge Ensemble’s new work Caliban through Australia Council’s Arts Project funding.

    In an effort to maintain transparency and to keep you informed on the current position of Western Edge Youth Arts, this letter addresses both the immediate and potential longer-term impacts the recent funding changes will have on our ability to deliver our programs.

    The short answer is that Western Edge Youth Arts is still in a stable position to deliver all projects and programs we have planned for 2016, including work in four schools (Whittington Primary School, North Geelong Secondary College, Geelong High School and VU Secondary College), the Phoenix Edge after school workshop program, and a new after school group commencing this term at VU Secondary College.  Our 2016 emerging artist program is going strong, with the Edge Ensemble presenting their new work Caliban at the Coopers Malthouse in November. The Geelong Edge will continue to develop their fantastic new work Of Belonging into an interactive piece to tour schools in regional Victoria.

    We have programmed accordingly to reduce some activities and spending in areas that will have the least impact on program processes, outcomes and impacts this year. Thankfully we are still receiving fantastic support towards our organisational costs from Creative Victoria and the City of Maribyrnong, and vital individual project funding from the Department of Education and Training, Department of Justice and Regulation, Helen Macpherson Smith Trust, Kimberley Foundation, City of Greater Geelong, Newsboys Foundation and Sidney Myer Fund.

    The Board and management are working hard to address the longer-term impacts of decreasing government support. We are confident that the legacy of the quality and importance of the work we do at Western Edge Youth Arts, combined with the continued efforts of our Board and staff in securing alternative avenues of support, will enable us to attract additional funding and revenue sources in the future.

    We are taking the cuts as an opportunity to continue diversifying our income streams through more fee for service and fundraising activities, as well as more collaborative, supportive opportunities to work together with like-minded arts organisations to ignite public and philanthropic interest.

    This is a timely moment to remind our supporters that if you would like to make a tax-deductible contribution to Western Edge Youth Arts please visit our website here. Your donation will benefit hundreds of young people who are able to access the arts for free through our programs.

    If you have any questions or suggestions please don’t hesitate to talk to either Dave or Sally at any time, they’d love to talk to you.

    Bernadette Fitzgerald
    Chair, Western Edge Youth Arts

  • #SaveYouthArts

    In 2007 there were 21 federally funded youth arts companies across Australia
    by 2014 there were 14
    In 2016 there will be 4

    In last week’s announcements of Australia Council project funding, 10 of the remaining 13 youth arts companies that were previously funded through the ‘Youth Program Fund’ have been refused funding beyond 2015. This is a devastating blow that has left many companies struggling to work out how to keep their doors open.

    Sally Farr from Western Edge Youth Arts states, “This is going to destroy so much of what we’ve built over the last 4 years with Australia Council funds, particularly our emerging artists programs and after school ensembles. I can’t say specifically what the company will need to cut as this is now the big question for our organisation to deal with in the next few months.”

    Enlisting the support of the wider arts community and the media, the sector has launched a campaign: #SaveYouthArts, to encourage the federal government and the Australia Council to step in and promise the assistance these small and important companies so desperately need. #SaveYouthArts is running in conjunction with the national #FreeTheArts campaign and we encourage everyone to use both hashtags.

    We call on the government and the Australia Council to act immediately by:

    –           extending the Youth Program Fund in 2016 (as a short term transition measure).
    –           Working with the sector to restore 2007 levels of national investment in youth arts companies
    –           reinstating ArtStart program

    The health and safety of Australia’s cultural future is at stake and action is needed now. Raise your voice and support #SaveYouthArts by contacting:

    –          Federal Arts Minister Mitch Fifield

                Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield
                42 Florence Street
                MENTONE VIC 3194
                Phone: (03) 9584 8347
                Phone Toll Free (Vic only): 1300 797 110

    –          CEO of the Australia Council for the Arts – Tony Grybowski:

                PO Box 788
                Strawberry Hills NSW 2012
                Ph: 02 9215 9000

    For further information read our media release: #SaveYouthArts Release December 2015

  • Dystopian Dreams – A Teacher Learning Case Study

    We were very proud of the partnership we developed with Hume Anglican College this year to create Days of the Last Dolls.

    Four Western Edge Youth Arts artists working in several disciplines: dance, drama, visual art and media art, collaborated with the Hume Anglican teaching staff and year 9s to create an interactive, installation work successfully integrated with many areas of the school curriculum.

    Creative Victoria created this film resource, based on our partnership, for future teacher/artist collaborations. In the film the teachers from Hume Anglican Grammar speak about what they got out of the residency professionally and Dave Kelman from Western Edge Youth Arts talks about his role in supporting that learning.

    “The teachers engaged in two full professional learning days in the project. Not only was it an excellent way for the artists and teachers to meet but it paved the way for discussions on shaping the program to suit the students.”

    -Beverley, teacher, Hume Anglican College.

  • AAWE Collective Expressions of Interest

    Western Edge Youth Arts and Arts-Access Victoria are seeking artists with disability to join the inclusive performing arts group AAWE Collective in 2016.

    Winners of the 2014 MIRA Award for Best Inclusive Art Group, AAWE Collective is a group of diverse artists exploring drama, film, music and visual art to create inclusive performance work since 2013.

    If you know any one that would be interested in joining please get them to contact Nikki Zerella on 03 9699 8299 or regarding our open workshop.

  • Manchester Poor Theatres Project Interview with Piper Huynh

    Piper Huynh sat down with Skye Brennan for her research into Western Edge Youth Arts, part of the Manchester Poor Theatres Project.

    You can view the full video online.

    Piper has been a key performer for Western Edge Youth Arts since she became involved in the three-year Chronicles project in 2010.  A member of the Edge Ensemble and Playback West, Piper also co-founded the AAWE Collective for people who are differently abled or from diverse cultural backgrounds.

  • Win at #CalibanSt

    This Saturday at Big West Festival Street Party, get your first glimpse of the Edge Ensemble’s newest work, #CalibanSt.
    Following the enormous success of Iago, the Edge Ensemble are embarking on their next major work. Set in the 22nd century, where rising sea levels have created a world of haves and have-nots, they are tackling some of the most pressing concerns of today: climate change and rising social inequality, along with a good helping of comedy, slap-stick, poetry and audience interaction.

    Be a part of the story by posting thoughts and photos on twitter or instagram using the hashtag #CalibanSt for your chance to win.

    The best tweets or instagrams of the day, as judged by the Edge Ensemble, will win a $200 JB Hi-Fi gift card or second prize of a $100 iTunes gift card.

    Two free live street shows
    Start times: 11am and 12 noon
    Saturday 21 November in Chambers St laneway, Footscray

    Image courtesy Star Weekly