Welcome to our final eScream for 2014! As we draw the year to a close it is a wonderful time to reflect on the amazing year we have had at CYT. From packed out classes to packed out houses, the company saw a massive increase in young and emerging artists coming through the doors of the theatre. We enjoyed great success in our major production program, resulting in the Canberra Critics Circle Award for Johnny Castellano is Mine and 7 Canberra Area Theatre Award nominations including 3 best directors and 2 best productions for Studio Underground (All in the Timing, Girls Like That) and Where in the World is Frank Sparrow? We couldn’t be prouder of having the highest calibre professional artists on staff, working with our emerging artists.

And speaking of emerging artists – it was also a big year for them too! Samantha Pickering was this year’s Rory Dempster Lighting Design finalist at Belvoir St. Theatre, had her first professional set/lighting/costume design go up at The Street Theatre and was selected to represent the ACT at the Australian Theatre Forum next month; Ethan Gibson had his professional debut at The Street Theatre as Antinous in SCANDALOUS BOY and topped his year off getting accepted into NIDA (Acting); Morgan Little joined the You Are Here Festival curation team; Coleman Grehan was nominated for a Technical Achievement Award (Sound Design) for Frank Sparrow; Khiani Klaus was appointed the new Venue & Technical Manager at Orana Theatre; Olivia Hewson was nominated for her second Best Leading Actress award and she, along with Mia Tuco were invited to LA in January, to work with some of Hollywood’s top casting directors for film and television (good luck girls!). This opportunity came because CYT was able to bring Alex Newman, casting director of GLEE, to work with our artists this year! And this is only the story of a few of our artists – there are even more great successes that you will see profiled on our Facebook page over the next few months!

This year also saw the continuation of the CYT Ambassadors program with the schools, strengthening our partnership with the Canberra Theatre Centre. We also shared very strong partnerships with The Street Theatre, You Are Here Festival, Gorman Arts Centre QL2, Warehouse Circus and Music For Everyone, as well as developing new relationships with the National Portrait Gallery, the ACT Writers Centre and Long Cloud Youth Theatre (NZ), whom we will be working with as a new international collaboration for our 2015 ANZAC Centenary production, DEAD MEN’S WARS – this show will see our artists performing in Wellington, NZ  next year!

CYT is a very special place and lives are transformed here every day. The training, development and industry preparation that we instil in our artists is being proven in their achievements every year and the quality of professional artists we have working with our very youngest to our oldest emerging artists is second to none, in the ACT. Our goal over the next few years is to lead the ACT in creating art and artists of significance and I am so proud to say that we are more than well on our way to achieving this.

As I prepare to go on maternity leave and hand the reigns of this great company over to our interim Artistic Director, Katie Cawthorne (who is brilliant!!) I would like to thank everyone for their amazing and unrelenting support of Canberra Youth Theatre, not just over my time, but over the 42 years of its history. It holds a very special place in the ACT Arts landscape and I encourage all our artists and families to continue their journey with us. I sincerely wish you all a Merry Christmas and a safe and prosperous new year. I look forward to bringing my new little artistic creation back in to meet you all next year!

– Karla Conway