Inclusive communities through the power of the arts

Back to Back Theatre work towards increasing social inclusion and welfare for, and challenging the negative attitudes towards, people living with intellectual disabilities aged 15 -50 in the Geelong region, by providing arts-based community programs that include workshops, training opportunities, mentorships and performances.

Thanks to your donations, Back to Back Theatre received a $30,000 grant from the Give Where You Live Foundation, which enables Back to Back Theatre to offer those often marginalised in our society the opportunity for personal and creative growth, skill development and enhanced wellbeing.

In March 2018, Back to Back Theatre ran a multi-disciplinary arts workshop over a weekend. Entitled Come and Make Performance (CAMP), the program seeks to provide people in our local region the opportunity to work with emerging and established artists across different art forms. This year, participants told stories through shadow puppetry, explored indigenous dance and movement, examined the intersection between art and science through visual art and staged an opera, among other weird and wonderful creative incarnations. After each morning and afternoon series of workshops, there was a showing to a small audience of friends, family and local community members. One workshop showing had participants and audience alike stand in a circle listening to individual participants respond to the theme of intimacy. The result was a poignant demonstration of the movements of our hearts and minds; an ode to the importance of community for sharing our stories.

Back to Back Theatre worked with Geelong Library to host a workshop, introducing a new space for performance making. Four young people under the age of 18 were engaged this year, as part of an initiative to help young people make the transition out of secondary school, and a teacher from Barwon Valley School participated in CAMP for the first time. Ensemble member Simon Laherty co-facilitated a workshop on performance-making with artist Chris Brown and an international artist from Berlin, Germany joined us on secondment.

CAMP offers a space in which people can be vulnerable and eccentric without fear of judgement. The workshops focus on collaboration, where everyone is invited to contribute in an equal and safe space. Contributions are received and valued in a creative setting that is led by the understanding that everyone is equal.

In the words of some of the participants:

“After CAMP 2018 l am left with a sense of the intimacy possible in public life” – Artist

“I never know what to expect. Without expectation comes sense of endless opportunity” – Participant

“If there’s not humour in this world, it’s absolutely screwed up. I should have drawn a smile on the alien’s face” – Participant

“I keep coming back because I love meeting the people, all the staff, and the drama” – Participant