Byron Youth Theatre is set to explore what it’s like for local young people to grow up in a tourist destination in a new play that created through innovative writing and research methods.
Based on research from Southern Cross University (SCU), ‘Our Home Holiday Town’ will explore the challenges of growing up in the constant flow of Byron Shire.
As part of the process of writing and producing the play, the members of Byron Youth Theatre (BYT) will conduct interviews, create surveys and research under the guide of professional researchers from SCU’s Centre for Children and Young People.
They will then combine this with their own personal experiences to produce the play.
BYT Director, Lisa Apostolides, said she was excited about the possibilities the project had for exploring academic research into the effectiveness of youth theatre in a social action context.
‘I am keen to give young people a voice in our community where they can become active agents of change,’ Ms Apostolides said.
‘We hope that Byron Council and Destination NSW will be on board to support this project and that the outcomes may be incorporated in strategic planning concerning tourism in our region.’
The idea for the play came from the research of SCU researcher Dr Antonia Canosa, who explored the experience of the 2,800 local youth growing up in the Shire and found that many had a love-hate relationship with their hometowns.
Dr Canosa found that while young people often love and identify closely with the region’s incredible natural beauty, their sense of belonging is jeopardized by the continuous waves of visitors temporarily living in the Shire.
‘Young people that grow up in a holiday destination like Byron Bay are witnessing that kind lifestyle on a regular basis – people having fun, relaxing, partying,’ Dr Canosa said.
‘They don’t always understand that these people go home to a much more normal lifestyle – a nine-to-five working week. That can skew a young person’s perspective of life in their community and their experience of living there.’