The Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund Supports Poetry in Action as it Pivots to Digitised Performances and Live Streaming into Australian Classrooms During COVID
Credit: Patrick Boland
From its humble Sydney origins in 2006, Poetry in Action has grown into one of Australia’s premier touring theatre companies, performing to more than 85,000 students across the country each year.
Its focus is to provide all Australian students with the opportunity to experience poetry through its unique interpretations of poetic works ranging from Yeats to Eminem. The fast-paced shows are entertaining and designed for students to emerge with an appreciation of poetry and literature, understanding of poetic techniques, and a newfound enthusiasm for using poetry as a valuable form of self-expression.
“We know our shows have an impact on students and communities, and while we do aim to have an educational outcome, there’s a significant cultural impact as well. It’s important that all students, especially those in rural communities, feel like they have equal opportunity and access to our shows. Each year we perform to over 85,000 children, and with a large audience like that we need to make sure that our performances leave a lasting and positive impression,” says Bryce Youngman, artistic director of Poetry in Action.
“This year has been really challenging. We quickly had to adapt to the new environment we were now working in, and fortunately, we were able to digitise performances and offer live Q&As for students so they can ask the actors questions. Maintaining some level of interactivity was important for us, as theatre is designed to be experienced in person, and though it can never be replicated like a live performance, we have worked really hard to ensure the virtual performances are entertaining, engaging and relevant to our audiences. While we look forward to performing live again, we will continue to make our shows available digitally to access those regions we don’t have the scope to travel to. It’s a positive by-product of a difficult time.”
Bryce and his fellow co-workers from Poetry in Action know first-hand the devastation that COVID-19 has had on the creative arts sector. By providing financial support that contributes to wages, the Copyright Agency has allowed many organisations, like Poetry in Action, to continue to create and produce the necessary work that contributes to the growth of the creative industry.
“The Copyright Agency has led the way for the creative industry during the COVID crisis and we have been deeply appreciative of its funding and advocacy on behalf of the creative arts industry. The show must go on!” explains Bryce.