ACCORDING to the latest BOSCAR data of recorded crime in NSW, Muswellbrook has some of the highest rates of domestic violence in the state.
As a result, Tantrum Youth Arts is committed to eradicating this trend by releasing a new round of performance dates for its Opening Doors initiative to schools in the region’s most affected areas.
With funding support from Greater Charitable Foundation, Tantrum will roll out the fourth season of its highly-regarded theatre-in-education experience to more than 4000 students across NSW between May and August 2018.
Opening Doors aims to educate and empower young people with increased knowledge on the causes and impacts of domestic violence and the avenues of support available if they are experiencing these issues.
It has been performed 32 times across the Hunter and Central Coast since 2013 and more than 2000 school students from 19 different schools have participated in the program to date.
Opening Doors is written and directed by Tantrum’s producer Tamara Gazzard, and features local young actors as well as input from police officers, solicitors and counsellors.
“The Muswellbrook local government area ranks 34th for highest recorded cases of domestic violence in NSW,” she said.
“However, this statistic is hard to measure as while public awareness of domestic and family violence is increasing, reporting rates are still far below actual incidence rates.
“Opening Doors is presented in a format that engages students in a unique and accessible way.
“It aims to bridge this gap by not only educating young people but also giving them a voice as well as the means and confidence to seek help if in need.”
The Greater Charitable Foundation chief executive officer Anne Long said Opening Doors was an initiative that resonated with the foundation’s core focus of improving life outcomes.
“Opening Doors has proven successful at utilising the arts to engage and educate young people on an insidious issue that is too often left unspoken,” she said.
“Through the actors’ role play and interactive discussion the young people exposed to this performance will walk away with potentially life-saving information about how to take action.
“This not only applies if they are experiencing domestic family violence on a personal level, but also being able to speak up if they see it happening outside of their own family unit.”
High schools in the Upper Hunter have an opportunity for an Opening Doors performance to be staged at their campus in 2018.
Interested schools are invited to submit an expression of interest by Friday, December 22.
To download a copy of the form or for further information, visit www.tantrum.org.au
* NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOSCAR)