I was the youngest member of a large family and grew up in a house full of music and books. In this context I soon realized that each generation deals with social change, inequity and discrimination. I was taught about racial discrimination and the fight for justice on many levels, yet my understanding was to a large degree theoretical. I couldn’t feel it or really understand it in my bones.
But over many years from quite a young age I read, studied and saw great contemporary theatre works such as The Crucible, The Floating World, and Stolen. I walked out of theatres and could see the stories played out before me in countless city vignettes. I felt angry, powerless and sad that so much of Australian injustice was invisible and difficult to confront. Yet here, through theatre, was a window to a deeper understanding and an opportunity to influence change.
I have chased that understanding through my career; which is why, day to day I fight to find funding to run the most powerful programs at GPAC.
As an example, this year we worked hard to have indigenous children come here to work with one of their leading artists, Deborah Cheetham: Yorta Yorta soprano, composer and educator. They came from schools in the Greater Geelong area. Many of the children had no indigenous peers at their school and had never raised their voices in song. Each day as they sang they stood taller.
As you’re aware, at GPAC we present many, many shows. It’s an utter delight. But to create change, we have to go beyond just presenting shows. Our deeper goal is to create opportunities like this for those who need it most. We are fighting to keep these kinds of programs.
I know you have been similarly touched by the arts, which is why I write to ask if you will consider making a donation to our social change programs in order to build a circle of strength around them?
With very sincere thanks,
Jill Smith, General Manager