03 Apr 2020


The Empire Theatres has continued to provide an artistic outlet to its Youth Arts students, providing the highly popular drama classes from a virtual platform.

Following the temporary closure of the Empire Theatre in line with direction from the Australian Government during the COVD-19 pandemic, Empire Youth Arts moved to an online system with facilitators finishing the final classes of Term 1 via video calling, working through a number of activities in line with the training originally planned for the term.

Term 2 Drama Workshops will continue as scheduled on the virtual platform until physical classes can resume.

Youth Arts Facilitator Ari Palani said the new format worked well and was well populated by enrolled students.

“We’ve had around 80-90% of all class participants Zooming in on the end of Term One classes,” Mr Palani said.

“I was initially nervous to see how we would translate our predominantly physical training work into the online space after nearly completing an entire term - but what soon became evident was that we were all figuring this out and the time we had all invested into making our community together rewards us during this time,” he said.

Mr Palani said the response from participants had been positive, with each class full of smiling faces, laughter and applause.

“It has also been a place of sharing worries, checking-in on each other’s wellbeing and unpacking these complex times,” he said.

“We've heard back from parents too about their young people not being able to wipe the smile from their face after connecting together, and we feel the same.

“As regionally based practitioners and producers we've been engaging through isolation for many years now, embracing technologies and platforms that are only now being hastily brought to the forefront.”

Mr Palani said it was important the Term 2 workshops proceed online, as the value of staying connected, creative and safe was evident, now more than ever.

“We are all turning to the work of artists - listening to music, watching movies and television, reading books that transport us elsewhere. We cannot cancel creativity!” he said.

“The details for Term Two will be announced very soon and while it will be slightly different for now, we will all be better for it.

“There'll be focuses on creative writing, acting for camera, directing for screen and much more - a creative workout from the comfort and safety of your own home. 

For more information contact youtharts@empiretheatre.com.au


 To learn more, see ABC Southern Queensland's David Iliffe's coverage of our classes.