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Award-winning kids theatre program coming to the Sunshine Coast

One of Queensland’s biggest and brightest youth arts organisations is bringing its kids theatre program to the Sunshine Coast. Kids on the Coast / Kids in the City sat down with Andrew Wright, CEO and Artistic Director at Goat Track Theatre to find out more.

It’s no big secret that being involved in the performing arts has many benefits for kids. These creative pursuits are not simply about forging a pathway to a career on stage. But, more importantly, about the social and developmental growth that participating in the performing arts imparts.

Kids who dance, sing, play music or act are four times more likely to gain academic awards than their peers that don’t. Performing can help kids express new emotions and to see the world in a whole new way. Plus, it helps kids to master their anxiety, cope with mistakes, be a quick thinker and builds their confidence.

One of the leading kids theatre programs that has had more than 15 years of success in bringing the priceless benefits of performing arts to kids on the Gold Coast and Scenic Rim, is now setting up five campuses on the Sunshine Coast. Each will deliver the renowned Goat Track Theatre kids program.

“We’ve come to the Sunny Coast and run workshops before. We’ve also worked with the local community, such as with the Sunshine Coast Drama Festival. But we haven’t had campuses there,” Mr Wright says. “Quite often we’ve had calls from parents on the Sunshine Coast saying, ‘When are you bringing your program up this way?’ And now we are!”

 

Theatre

What distinguishes the Goat Track Theatre kids program from other kids theatre programs?

Goat Track Theatre kids program is a theatre program for primary school-age children. Industry experts Andrew Wright and Louise Bahnson have developed the program. The pair have both worked in the performing arts industry as writers, directors, stage managers and costume designers. They also have experience as drama teachers in primary, secondary and tertiary drama.

“We’ve got a real passion for kids theatre because we think it’s the most potent art form by which to teach children,” Mr Wright says.

“This is the way children learn. People see play and theatre as a little bit luxurious; something you do when you have time. But actually, this is the work of the child. Children learn through playing. They learn to access different parts of themselves; to access their confidence and creative thinking. They access new friends who are in their tribe. We’re providing a safe and playful space with a highly educational program so that kids can access that part of themselves.”

The Goat Track Theatre kids program is divided into two groups: Prep to Year 3 and Year 4-6 students. Each term of the Goat Track Theatre kids program covers a different use of drama or theatre.

“You might do mask and movement one term and then you do comedy the next and then do improvisation after that. It’s a program where you could start at Prep, go through to Year 6 and never repeat a single unit!” Mr Wright says.

There’s no ‘big show’

A key difference with the Goat Track kids program is that there is no ‘big show’. Instead, kids perform every week.

“It’s not about putting on a big play because children can get lost in that. In reality, that ends up with a teacher giving two or three lead kids all of their attention, while everyone else sits in the background.”

Instead, at Goat Track, every child performs every week, every time. This give all kids the space to build their skills and confidence, as well as fail, mess up, learn from their mistakes and grow.

“No performance is ever perfect, kids learn to improvise, to minimise errors and get back on track. These are skills that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.”

Mr Wright believes creativity should be the foundation of a child’s education, not an ‘add-on’ or optional extra. Creativity and play are the keys to opening the doors of learning.

“A huge amount of research has proven drama classes are extremely beneficial for things like mental and physical health, and emotional wellbeing. It also improves literacy and other academic performance.”

He says the major benefits Goat Track works towards are confidence, creativity, focus, fun, group skills, friendships and performance ability.

“We’ve got a passion for children and young people, and for education and personal development,” Mr Wright says. “We make sure that it’s about all of our kids, and we pride ourselves on having a very inclusive space.”

Goat Track Theatre will launch its kids theatre program at the start of Term 4 on the Sunshine Coast in Kawana, Maleny, Coolum, Pacific Paradise and Peregian Beach.

A free trial will be available. Register your interest here.

 

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By Angela Sutherland
After spending many years hustling stories on busy editorial desks around the world, Angela is now mum of two little ones and owner/editor at Kids on the Coast / Kids in the City. She is an atrocious cook and loves cutting shapes to 90s dance music. Angela is the editor of Kids on the Coast - a free family magazine whats on guide for Kids: things to do, school holiday fun and free activities for kids... Fun attractions, family food & travel, kids health & wellbeing, kids parties venues, parenting, pregnancy & babies, guide for parents. Servicing Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and beyond, Kids on the Coast is an online guide for parents with kids things to do with kids, schools and education and lifestyle news located on Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast & Brisbane, QLD.

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