JUTE Theatre Company’s award-winning First Nations residency program, Dare to Dream, hits the road this month, touring the Far North and Cape with I Gut this Feeling, an engaging new theatre work aimed at empowering young people with knowledge for building safer communities.
Since 2016, JUTE’s award-winning and innovative Dare to Dream theatre touring program has touched and transformed the lives of over 20 000 young people in regional and remote communities of Far North Queensland. JUTE’s first Dare to Dream touring program for 2023, I Gut this Feeling will visit Mossman and four other remote FNQ communities kicking off this month.
I Gut this Feeling is based on the Westpac Safer Children, Safer Communities work program objectives covering sensitive topics, with a particular focus on addressing and preventing childhood trauma.
Commissioned by JUTE Theatre Company as part of its Dare to Dream Safer Children, Safer Communities initiative, I Gut this Feeling by Isaac Drandic blends a compelling narrative with First Nations storytelling to form the centrepiece of a residency program bound for the remote communities of Mossman, Weipa, Mapoon, Lockhart River, and Normanton.
I Gut this Feeling is clever, comical, and entertaining and has been created by Drandic to engage and educate audiences both young and old who rarely have opportunities to access or participate in theatrical arts expression of this kind.
Delivered by an all-new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cast and crew, stage/tour manager Serena Thompson and actors, Jamaylya Ballangarry-Kearins and Maurice Sailor, I Gut this Feeling is a two-hander touring show for students ranging from Grade 4 to Grade 9 and featuring a creative mix of fantastical fairytale characters, is a modern-day parable about ‘staying safe’.
I Gut this Feeling presents Djirra (played by Jamaylya Ballangarry-Kearins), a young girl trying to make her way safely back home through a strange world. Along the way, Djirra meets some very odd creatures, a crafty water spirit who tries to lure her to the water’s edge, a roaring Hairyfella who seems so scary but maybe he isn’t and a peculiar old cook who is making stew in the middle of nowhere with crazy ‘secret’ ingredients. Djirra even gets messages from a little lizard; all of them have advice for her, but who to trust?
At each community visited, the five week, four-day theatre residency program – (daily workshop sessions) for up to 20 young people (Grade 4 to 6 primary and 7 to 9 secondary) offers a fun and exciting environment to learn leadership, confidence, teamwork, acting, and creating performance skills.
The artists/facilitators structure the residencies to align with theatre stagecraft, show themes that plug into the Australian curriculum and culminate in an end of week showcase; at which students present their residency experiences to peers, and the school community. This is an event the students embrace, and while giving voice to personal experiences, successfully reinforces the themes of the of the play.
JUTE Theatre Company’s Creative Producer Monica Stevens said Dare to Dream was established in 2016 to support, involve and inspire Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to express themselves and their aspirations through theatre.
“Embracing the heuristic spirit of Dare to Dream’s residency program, I Gut this Feeling is a culmination of everything Dare to Dream stands for, primarily the positive impact theatre can make on the lives of young people in remote centres,” said Ms Stevens.
According to JUTE Theatre Company’s Artistic Director and CEO, Suellen Maunder, Dare to Dream is a program about people and organisations working together to influence change.
“There is just so much opportunity for JUTE to make an important contribution in this way but as you can imagine, the resources and expenses involved with touring are significant,” said JUTE Theatre Company’s Artistic Director and CEO, Suellen Maunder.
“We are always on the lookout for likeminded organisations and corporate citizens who will collaborate with JUTE and help us do more.
“Organisations like Westpac, Energy Queensland are prime examples of how working together we can do something great,” Ms Maunder said.
I Gut this Feeling 2023 touring dates
· 22/5/2023 – 26/05/2023 Mossman
· 29/5/2023 – 02/06/2023 Weipa
· 5/6/2023 – 09/06/2023 Mapoon
· 12/6/2023 – 16/06/2023 Lockhart River
· 19/6/2023 – 23/06/2023 Normanton
Dare to Dream incorporates the creation, development, production, and touring of meaningful and message driven stories made for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander audiences by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists. The all-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cast, and crew is key to the program’s success which in each community visited, comprises a four-day intensive theatre residency featuring school and community performances and intensive workshops with young people.
To date, JUTE Theatre Company’s Dare to Dream series has presented Proppa Solid (2016 and 2017), Bukal (2018), The Longest Minute (2019), Back on Track (2021 & 2022) and Get Your Geek On (2021).
JUTE Theatre Company acknowledges the support of the Australian Government through the Building Better Regions Fund and the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory board. It also acknowledges support from the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland.
JUTE is a company rendered unique by place, brimming with unique voices and stories, choosing to see difference as strength.
JUTE’s story is a simple one; the best stories are. Yet, like all the best stories, ours is rich with courage, resilience, hope, and joy. It began with a simple passionate idea, but one that has endured for over a quarter of a century, engaging the talents and the hearts of artists and audiences alike. Over time, our story has developed a compelling plot; one that twists and turns, adapts and refines, delivering inspiring experiences time after time. But our story is also grounded, with a clear eye on the practical challenges of the current world and foreseeable landscape. It is a story with no denouement in sight – for it has a vision, a mission, and a strategy to build upon its past successes and to forge ahead into a bright and ambitious future.
JUTE is uniquely placed to promote diversity through the performing arts from its base in northern Queensland. It has the proven capability, through a series of successful collaborations, to witness its creative impact being realised deep into the regions beyond.
JUTE dares to develop and tell stories that challenge, inspire, and bring us together through the power and magic of theatre. The core values of JUTE are to empower the use of self-expression, passion, and drive to change lives through theatre, telling untold stories that represent our diverse society.
JUTE does this by:
· Developing, producing, and touring exceptional theatre experiences
· Nurturing and presenting cultural diversity through theatre
· Being a catalyst for regional and international partnerships, co-productions, and touring
· Developing audiences through multiple channel delivery of work, education, and engagement
· Organisational efficiency, effectiveness, and resilience
· Financially astute, commercially and growth oriented