Theatre Arts Avenue For Youth Participation

The 2021 Youth Arts Program has given students the confidence to express their stories on stage; an avenue which a Year Nine student from Kopkop said gave them an opportunity to relate to the issues affecting their lives.

Adriana Mulavo, a year nine student attending Kopkop College said dramatizing these sensitive topics gave her and her class the chance to talk about the issues that they see happening around them.

“These topics dramatized on stage (police brutality, suicide, gambling) needs to be talked about and really needs changing…Telling these stories, in a way helped us to express ourselves. Because most of the time we are not allowed to do that in an academic setting.”

The six-week annual Youth Arts Program took place amongst several high schools in Port Moresby, headed by Moresby Arts Theatre alongside the University of Goroka.

Program Coordinator, Dr Jane Awi from the University of Goroka, who believes in the power of creative industry, said theatre can help alleviate poverty and create employment for many young people.

Dr Awi feels that many parents fail to encourage their kids to take up creative arts courses as many think that creative arts lack job opportunities.

“It’s difficult to identify this from the start but through such interactions you begin to see kids express themselves freely and that helps them to develop their communication skills, confidence building and creative, innovative spontaneous thinking.

“The young people have so much potential. All you need to do is to create an avenue and then you see those hidden skills and talents.

“You don’t get that in a school environment because teaching and learning is didactive but in theatre we speak it, express it and demonstrate it.”

Dr Awi said under drama and education, drama tools are introduced to students to help them unpack their understanding on a complex issue with topics tied to the theme “Dystopia.”

“The topics that are developed are intended to help students think critically about those issues and discuss them. UOG brings the processed drama curriculum and combines it with what Moresby Arts Theatre (MAT) has, the theatre and directing skills which are both packaged and developed for students.”

Dr Awi said the program is a success where a number of schools have been able to use the drama tools in their curriculum, while students have become mentors at the MAT.

“Overall, the creative industry in PNG is not given prominence, it’s a sleeping giant that needs to be injected with the right structure, policy, leadership and the right educational programs to enable it to blossom. It will sustain itself because you can be a fashion designer, visual artist, performer, actor or an actress.” 

Press Release