Posts Categorized: Young People Defining Brisbane

Ayesha Lutschini / Meri Toksave

When Ayesha Lutschini first began volunteering with The Oaktree Foundation in 2007, she was 16 years old.

“When I was younger I thought I wanted to be a lawyer, I saw myself as someone who would standup for those who couldn’t do this themselves. As I got older I soon realized that my greatest passion was people and at 16 I wanted to help make a difference but had no idea how to begin. Thats where the Oaktree Foundation comes in. I was getting ready for school one morning in 2007 and saw an advertisement on TV for the 2007 Make Poverty History Roadtrip, so I applied and received positive confirmation.”

Born and raised in Papua New Guinea, Ayesha’s commitment to social justice is inspired directly from the environment from which she grew up, “understanding the levels of violence first hand was more then enough for me to want to create positive and lasting change … it afforded me the opportunity to grow into a socially conscious being and further develop a passion for social justice”.

With the incredible experience volunteering on campaigns with the Oaktree Foundation, Ayesha felt encouraged to develop a program that would be able to help people in the communities which she had known growing up. “During the numerous campaigns I assisted with at The Oaktree Foundation the Visible Ink space was always available to help us”, and outside the usual haunts of living rooms and university meeting spots, Visible Ink was a natural connection, “and of course the Visible Ink team immediately put up their hands up to assist us”.

The Meri Toksave team in Papua New Guinea

The Meri Toksave team in Papua New Guinea

Forming a team with university friends Tasman and Courtney, fellow attendees of the 2013 Harvard World Model United Nations, the group started developing a campaign centered on overcoming the inaccessibility and invisibility of contact information for emergency services. The team were awarded a Resolution Fellowship through a successful application to Resolution Project Social Venture Challenge, and this project would become the first campaign for their new organisation ‘Meri Toksave’. Meri Toksave worked on the creation of a countrywide ‘Directory of Emergency Services for Those Affected by Family and Sexual Violence’ in 2013 and they will see the product of their labour distributed throughout this coming year.

Now in its second year of operation, Meri Toksave is currently in the process of a recruiting drive “to expand our small but awesome team into a bigger group of young, passionate change makers”. They are also busy translating the Directory into the official lanugage of Papua New Guinea, Tok-Pisin, which should help see a greater distribution and access to popular mediums of media.

“What I love most about my work with Meri Toksave is having the opportunity to work with other young people in Papua New Guinea and Australia who are passionate and determined in their efforts to leave a better world and their own legacy behind.”

While working as the Co-founder, Sponsorship Manager,  Partnership Manager and Director of Meri Toksave, Ayesha still somehow finds the downtime to “watch horrible reality tv shows, plan my wedding, attend Model United Nations conferences or spend time with my loved ones”. She’s also manages to find the time to consider some pretty sage advice:

“If you know me, you know I harp on about this quote quite often, however I truly believe that ‘young people are not just tomorrow’s leaders, we are today’s partners’. I remember always saying ‘when I grow up I want to’…but in actual fact I realised through my volunteer work that I don’t need to grow up, have a degree, be the most financially secure or resourceful individual in order to create change. All I need is passion and the willingness to put that passion into action. So my advice to young people wanting to get into the social justice or non-for-profit sector is to literally get amongst it, you don’t have to wait to grow up because you can create real and tangible change today.”

You too can get involved with Meri Toksave or participate in many rewarding social justice projects, and Ayesha says it’s easy, “don’t be overwhelmed by your lack of experience or doubt your ability to do great things… be open and willing to learn knowing that you will make mistakes along the way and that is perfect because mistakes, if you let them, help make you better.”

You can contact Ayesha via the Meri Toksave website:
www.meritoksave.org
or by email:
administration@meritoksave.org

Brisbane K-Pop Flash Mob

“I’m not sure how the founders of our group stumbled upon [Visible Ink] but I’m glad they did. The staff are friendly and encouraging and we wouldn’t be able to do what we do without the space. We’re very grateful to the Vis Ink team!”

BKPFM are currently working on a range of dance covers, and whatever else comes their way. The group has frequented the Visible Ink space for years, building their ranks not only as a way to exercise and fun but to be social, meeting other people that have similar interests. It’s also a way for them to use the music they listen to in a constructive and creative way.

“I guess, because there aren’t many people that actively dance to K-Pop or even like it, it’s a way for us to reach out and say: Hey! We are fans and this is what we do!”

BKPFM want to create a space for those that aren’t as confident about putting their covers (dancing or singing) out there and meet other people that have the same interest, all the while putting Brisbane on the map in the K-Pop scene.

BKPFM Two

This diverse but tight knit group spend time together outside of BKPFM, socialising and showcasing their other talents and skills as aspiring writers, artists, musicians, biologists, dancers, zoologists, conservationists and the list goes on. If you’re interested in joining them, it’s as simple watching this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QXs3oOiogY8.

“Just do it! Don’t be scared to try something new. If you want to put your covers out there, practice hard and learn from every video or event you do. It’s always hard at first even when you’re in a group but it’s all worth it in the long run!”

Natasha also says if you’re looking to get involved in Brisbane’s dance communities, it’s important to be humble “the people you meet can give you sound advice but only if you let them. Don’t view people as your competition but as your allies, you might end up with an amazing collaboration”.

BKPFM can be contacted via Facebook and are a welcoming group, so feel free to join in on the fun.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brisbanekpopfm

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/BRISBANEKPFM

The Faultline Syndicate

Sitting down with Josie and Nicola it is easy to see how passionate they are about theatre and promoting creative arts. They first heard about Visible Ink from friends, and were really interested in a government initiative which focused on encouraging creative individuals, ‘after our first visit we were overwhelmed by the resources and facilities made available to us by the lovely staff’. Since then, The Faultline Syndicate have been rehearsing in the space regularly for their upcoming Anywhere Theatre Festival performance.

Faultline

Alice’s Adventures Underground is a collaborative project with a brilliant ensemble, who create theatre through spontaneity and play.

 We love the process because of the intimacy found within live performance, the connection generated through the security within the rehearsal space, and the freedom of expression; it makes for a developmental process you don’t forget.  And then after all the tears and forgotten lines and creative blocks you reach an end goal. And that’s a pretty satisfying and exhilarating feeling.

To see the show, check out the Anywhere Theatre Festival website. Alice’s Adventures Underground will be performed at The Boundary Hotel from 14th – 17th May.

Josie also gave us this advice for young people looking to get involved in creative arts: get involved in anything and everything around you. Creative industries have so many nooks and hidden treasures you only find through experience and meeting people.  So get involved!

Faultline Syndicate

Check out The Faultline Syndicate’s facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/faultlinesyndicate, to keep up to date with what’s happening.

Nisha Mehrotra – Ticket to Bollywood: En-Route Australia

Currently rehearsing in the Visible Ink Valley space, Nisha believes the program is an absolutely fantastic initiative by Brisbane City Council to encourage young people to follow their dreams and introduce unique activities to Brisbane through these means. Despite graduating with a degree in Accounting and Information Systems, Nisha uses her free hours to focus on dance and song, using her time in rehearsals for the Ticket to Bollywood: En-Route Australia stage show. The fusion showcase is a collaborative project between the UQ Indian Student Society and QUT Cultural Society of India to highlight a mix of performance mediums and styles from Bollywood, classical, contemporary and fusion dances, skits, musicals, live bands, MC acts and much more. Nisha worked in programs with a similar concept back in her home town of Christchurch, New Zealand, and found an excellent opportunity to introduce this concept here in Brisbane. Driven by her desire to dance and be creative, Nisha is willing to devote her time to these projects because “I am doing something I am passionate about and at the same time getting to meet so many new people who share the same passion as me”. Ticket to Bollywood: En-Route Australia will be happening in August so keep an eye out for posters and more information coming out soon regarding the event. Tell all your family and friends about it – “it will be the Biggest Bollywood Production of Brisbane”.

If you are interested in finding out more about Ticket to Bollywood: En-Route Australia, performing or being involved jumped over the Facebook group page or for more information about the showcase as it gets closer. Alternately you can contact Nisha directly on 0403 325 861.
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Steven Windolf – AU Music Group

With a deep passion and drive for music Steven Windolf is working across Brisbane to support young people to express themselves, showcase their talents and learn new skills. He has been involved in music events since he was 14 years old, managing a range of all-ages venues and events across Brisbane. His enthusiasm, experience and wealth of knowledge over the past eight years, have support many local artists to produce high quality performances, showcasing young talent to the best of their ability and allowing them to be exposed to a range of audiences. Steven is now a member of the AU Music Media management team, who support a range of music events across Australia.

‘I love to see the youth of Brisbane showcasing their talents and young people being able to enjoy their talents in safe, drug and alcohol free places and venues.’

The biggest advice Steven gave for young people looking to get involved in music events was to be willing to ask. There are a lot of people out there that have experiences and they are more than willing to answer your questions, help you out or give advice. Steven says he is grateful for the advice he’s been given and how everyone has been extremely supportive of what he is working on.

If you’re looking to get involved in events, music or technical operating, Steven is more than willing to discuss his experiences and happy to train young people. You can get in touch with Steven via email: steven@aumusicmedia.com.au, text: 0423 504 438 or, facebook page.

Madeline Price

Madeline Price is a passionate fourth year Bachelor of Arts/Laws student at The University of Queensland. Madeline first got to know us as part of Oaktree, a group that had previously held an office here at Visible Ink as part of the Brisbane City Council Youth Enterprise Program.

Currently embarking on an ambitious new program, the One Woman Project, tackling a range of important issues relating to gender equity. Madeline hopes “to educate students about these issues, before connecting them with local gender-related organisations with available volunteering positions, so they can further their knowledge and community impact”, the program will soon enter it’s second semester at Visible Ink, building upon it’s initial success.

The One Woman Project, founded in mid-2013, presented its inaugural program in March this year and has already garnered a positive response from the community including receiving a project grant from internationally-renowned gender advocacy organisation Half the Sky, and partnering with the Brisbane branch of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.

The first series of seminars, atended by over 25 university-aged students over eight weeks, coverered a wealth of issues, featuing expert guest speakers on the various topics, multi-media presentations and participatory discussion among the participants. Topics included; the difference between sex and gender, the feminisation of poverty, representations of women and men in advertising and film, maternal health and HIV/Aids, women in the political arena, the role of women in conflict zones, women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, and the future of global gender inequality.

Madeline Price with students from the first semester program.

Madeline Price with students from the first semester program.

Madeline explains her inspiration for the program, “the One Woman Project stemmed from my recent participation in a Summer Semester abroad. Living and studying in Prague, the Czech Republic, for one month, I participated in the Global Leadership Program, a program requiring one to develop a social justice project with the hope of implementing it back in your home country.”

She has long been involved in gender related advocacy, “my passion for global gender equality began at a young age, following an overseas volunteering trip to Thailand and Cambodia” , Madeline’s inspiring commitment to community continued through her study. “Since beginning my tertiary studies, I have established The University of Queensland branch of Oaktree, acted as President of the UQ Oaktree Society from 2012-2013, participated as a Group Leader on Oaktree’s ‘Roadtrip to End Poverty’ in March 2013 and acted as the Queensland ‘Live Below the Line’ Insiders Coordinator for 2013. Presently, I am also a Community Leaders Head Facilitator at Oaktree, along with being an active member of the UQ Women’s Collective.”

The second semester of the One Woman Project begins in the middle of 2014 at Visible Ink, with applications closing on July 31. It is open to both male and female high-school and university students, and is a great opportunity to learn about gender equity, meet some involved and inspiring participants and become involved in community as a One Woman Project alumni.

Madeline claims working with the Visible Ink space is a great fit for the project as “the innovative and collective atmosphere it creates, as well as the profession-attitude it conveys” aligned perfectly with her motivations. We’re just as thrilled to have such a committed and passionate young person making such valuable use of our facilities.

If you want to get involved you can register for the One Woman Project on the programs website, where you can also find volunteering opportunities to work with the program itself, including roles Course Facilitators, Online Content Designers and Assistant Coordinators.

One Woman Project website: www.onewomanproject.org
One Woman Project Facebook: facebook.com/theonewomanproject
One Woman Project email: theonewomanproject@gmail.com

Sporadic Entertainment

Sporadic Entertainment was founded in the early months of 2013 by four strange individuals; a playwright, a producer, a photographer and a musician. The company is comprised entirely of young people, aiming to showcase the range of young talent available in Brisbane. Adrian Ferguson explained the reason the company was dedicated to maintaining members under 25 years of age was that Brisbane already has an amazingly talented community of young writers, directors, musicians and stunt people; the work they create is great and Sporadic Entertainment would like to provide a platform for young artists to be recognised.

After having their fair share of outdoor rehearsals or finding alternative venues such as a café, Sporadic Entertainment started rehearsing at Visible Ink, finding out about us through their local Councillor’s Ward Newsletter. Their direction and enthusiasm for performance led them to get some advice from Vis Ink staff and a referral to Youth Arts Queensland, who provided some grant support for projects in 2013.

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Right now, Sporadic Entertainment is rehearsing for an upcoming Anywhere Theatre Festival show, Wumblebutt. During May, they’ll be hanging out at Roma Street Parklands, taking kids and the young-at-heart on a magical quest that can be described as Adventure Time meets Sponge Bob. Come along to see the outlandish comedic tale of a senile old wizard and his dragon, Anne as they embark on a magical, musical journey to find a missing pair of golden underpants.

For session times, tickets and more information, check out our event listing or visit Anywhere Theatre Festival.

For more details about Sporadic Entertainment, getting being involved or any other information regarding the Wumblebutt shows check out Sporadic Entertainment’s facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/SporadicEntertainment.

The guys at Sporadic Entertainment are also looking for some stall holders such as face painters or balloon artists to be a part of the Wumblebutt experience. If you’re interested, just send them a message via their facebook page.

Zoë Tuffin – Wax Lyrical Theatre Company

What are you currently working on project-wise?

Wax Lyrical Theatre Company is rehearsing our premier production, Bloke, which we are staging at the Anywhere Theatre Festival. I am the director and Shane Pike, wrote the play and is acting in it. We are passionate about collaborating with other emerging artists and are working with a musician, Silvan Rus, and assistant director, Natalie Lazaroo.

Bloke, A Man’s Twenty-First Century Guide to Emotional Fulfilment (or not… Maybe it’s just about sex) tells the story of George and his three mates. Every year they meet on the same day at the same bar, but this year it’s different. Their dark and troubled past is now threatening their future.

The play is about young men in Australia and some of the issues they face on that difficult journey to “becoming a man”. When you look at the incidence of violence among men and the recent ABS statistic that shows suicide as the leading cause of death in men aged 15-44, it is clear that things are not alright for our Aussie blokes. In this production we attempt to unearth whether power leads to manhood.

Interested in seeing Bloke? Follow the link for performance dates, times and details.

What would you say led you to where you are today? What led you to be working on Bloke?

My partnership with Shane Pike led me here today. Shane is passionate about bringing awareness to issues surrounding young Aussie men. He encouraged me to look at the bigger picture, to not just focus on young men and alcohol, or speeding, or suicide, or violence, but to actually ask the question of why? Why are young men behaving like this? Why are our Aussie blokes suffering?

Asking these questions was a turning point for me. I was raised by a feminist. My mother was part of the second wave of feminism in South Australia. Mum and her friends were responsible for setting up the first women’s outreach centres in SA, ensuring that when women left abusive relationships they had somewhere safe to go. My whole life I’ve been surrounded by strong female leaders. They are my role models, which has been crucial for me when now entering the male dominated industry of directing. None of this is to say that I am a man hater! Not at all and neither are the women I was raised by. I simply mean that until Shane came into my life, the issues surrounding Australian masculinity simply were not on my radar.

I hope that staging this show at Anywhere Theatre Festival is just the first step. Wax Lyrical would really love to re-mount it, hopefully somewhere like the Powerhouse or Judith Wright Centre. From there we’d like to tour it to some of the fringe festivals interstate. It is our dream to reach as many Australians as we can, to get them asking questions about Australian masculinity and what it means to “become a man”. We’ve all experienced men in our lives behaving destructively, whether it’s our fathers, uncles, friends, brothers, or lovers but how many of us have looked at the bigger picture and asked, why?

What do you do, why did you choose to go down that path, and what do you love about it?

I’m a director. I currently work at Zen Zen Zo Physical Theatre. Directing is both one of the most challenging and enjoyable things I’ve ever done. I directed my first show seven years ago and can remember a moment during the first rehearsal when this intense wave of emotion came over me and I just knew I was in the right place doing exactly what I was meant to do.

I love working with people. I love that theatre is a collaborative art form: people join together and share their hearts with one another. It takes so much bravery and trust to create theatre. Directing allows me to connect with people and bring people together, not just in terms of artists but the audience as well. More than anything though, I love story telling. I love sweeping people away through their imaginations, taking them outside of themselves and back again.

How did you hear about Visible Ink and get involved in using our space?

I first found out about Visible Ink through Zen Zen Zo Physical Theatre when I assistant directed for Medea: The River Runs Backwards. We used Vis Ink for our creative development. I was really impressed with the facilities and I was amazed when I found out it was for free. I couldn’t believe it!

When my new company, Wax Lyrical Theatre Company, were accepted into Anywhere Theatre Festival I was worried about finding rehearsal spaces. As a new independent company, we are funding this project entirely out of our own pockets so we couldn’t afford to pay for rehearsal spaces. My close friend and colleague, Merlynn Tong, suggested I get in contact with Visible Ink. She had a fantastic experience during her rehearsals for Ma Ma Ma Mad. Merlynn raved about the staff’s generosity, supporting her with marketing and donating lighting and cushions – how could I resist?! When you are working from your own resources, having that level of kindness and assistance is so beneficial and something I really needed.

Is there any advice you would give young people wanting to get started in this field? Or any advice you wish you’d been given beforehand?

Learning to live with fear is part of being a director. You will always be scared of failing. In fact, the more terrified you are, the better, because it shows how important the project is to you and how much of a risk you are taking – you are putting your heart on the line. Even the truly great director’s struggle with fear but the trick is to not let it stop you.

How would you suggest young people get involved in theatre and directing in Brisbane?

The best thing you can do to begin, is assistant direct (AD). Find a director whose work you admire and ask to AD for them. Then get some people together and have a go yourself. You will never feel “ready” to direct and there is never a “right time”. You just have to get started.

Brisbane is a remarkable city in that it offers so many opportunities to get your work out there. 2high Festival and Anywhere Theatre Festival provide a supportive place to show your work. They are the perfect launch pads for emerging directors to begin showing their work.

As someone recently arrived in Brisbane, I would have to say that the Brisbane theatre scene is one of the most open, generous and accommodating places I have ever had the pleasure of working. Here, more than any of the other four cities I have worked in, my advice would be to emerging artists – if you want help or guidance, then just ask for it. Established artists know how difficult the journey is and more often than not they are willing to help out where they can.

Bloke will be showing as a part of the Anywhere Theatre Festival from Friday 9th May, at Blackwall Arts Space, West End. Check the Visible Ink event listings or the Anywhere Theatre Festival website for details.

Underground Productions

As a part of the University of Queensland’s drama society, Underground Productions has a rich history of producing exciting and innovative theatre while providing development opportunities for emerging dramatic artists. Since 2010, Underground has expanded its seasons at the Schonell Theatre and evolved to host brilliant works, both original and established, drawing audiences and performers from across Brisbane.

Anthony Neilson’s The Wonderful World of Dissocia will be Underground Productions first main-house show of the year. This incredible, full-length play expresses the roller-coaster ride of coping with mental illness in a whimsical and zany land resplendent with eccentric characters. The performance will be the first of many throughout 2014 and in March, Underground will be providing a week of free workshops for members at Visible Ink to learn creative skills. This week is to teach and improve skills, help people come out of their shell and make new friends within the company and have fun together doing things we love.

From traditional narratives to arts-fusion festivals, Underground Productions aims to provide a platform for artists of any discipline to produce exciting, high-quality theatre whilst still maintaining a strong sense of fun and community. If you’ve got an interest in writing, directing, performing, designing, building, promoting, laughing and of course, you have a passion for creativity – then Underground Productions is a place for you.

Underground have opportunities for people of all disciplines and experience levels, so be sure to follow the website  and Facebook page  to see how you can attend shows and get involved. If you have any other questions, just send an email to contactus@undergroundproductions.org.au.

Annika Thomas

annika thomasTeen Challenge QLD volunteer Annika Thomas, who grew up in the south-eastern suburbs of Brisbane, helps out in marketing and fundraising for the cause. Recently engaged, Annika is hoping people will get behind this cause that helps young people.

What do you do, why did you choose to go down that path, and what do you love about it?
I have currently been engaged with supporting the work done at Teen Challenge QLD. TCQ is a not for profit organisation which helps young people from the ages of 16 to 29 years who struggle with homelessness, addictions, and other life controlling issues. As part of the team at TCQ I get to be involved in the process of ensuring that Queensland youth have an opportunity for a better life. What I love most about volunteering for TCQ is the opportunity to help my community and also to be part of a friendly, supportive, and enthusiastic team.

What are you currently working on project-wise?
Currently I am helping TCQ through their marketing and fundraising. I have been creating documents and lists of fundraising strategies and events we could host to increase the donations put towards our cause. I have also been helping update the online presence of TCQ through the website and through our social media (Facebook) page.
What would you say led you to where you are today? Eg background, achievements, inspiration?
I was inspired to start helping Teen Challenge QLD through my Mum, who has always encouraged me and inspired me to take on new challenges. I have been studying writing at university and, as I got closer to graduation, I began to think about how and where I could use my skills. My Mum found a TCQ volunteer position, which provided me with a perfect opportunity to practice my skills and gain some experience. TCQ has been a great place for me to do this; the people here are supportive and encouraging, and have provided me with many opportunities to develop my abilities.

What do you get up to in your down time? Do you have any hobbies?
In my down time I like to read, write, and play tennis. A lot of my time is spent reading fantasy or thriller novels (but I am open to other suggestions). I have recently become engaged so most of my time has been taken up with wedding preparations, which involves a lot of Googling and emailing. My favourite way to relax and get away from the rush of life is to draw a bath, put on some music and read a book.

What’s it like being a young person in Brisbane? What suggestions would you make to improve the city?
Through my work with TCQ I have realised that, even though I have grown up in Brisbane, I don’t have a full understanding of what it is like to be a young person in Brisbane. I grew up in the south-east suburbs with a loving family and friends. I have my difficulties but for the most part I have a fun, interesting life. I would like to acknowledge how lucky I am to have so much love and support in my life and to encourage others do the same. So many young people do not have what I do. They struggle every day with things I have taken for granted. I would suggest that, to improve the city, everyone, from businesses to communities to governments, should acknowledge these young people and find ways to support them. No matter how small or large the engagement every bit of support given to these young people assists in bettering their lives, and the lives of their communities.

What advice or inspiration would you share with other young people?
My favourite quote and inspiration is from C.S. Lewis. “Hardships often prepare ordinary people, for an extraordinary destiny”. I see this as a reminder that no matter where you come from, no matter what you have done or been through, if you can fight against your troubles and stand strong in yourself and God, you will fly above the storm and come out a stronger person.

Is there anything else you’d like to add? Where can people get in touch with you?
Please donate or show support to Teen Challenge. Every bit of assistance is an encouragement to the staff and the young people we help. If you would like further information about helping us, or if you would like to know more about referrals, please contact us. We are happy to answer any questions you may have. You can contact us through email on tcqld@teenchallenge.org.au or you can also visit our website on http://www.teenchallengeqld.org.au/.