The Cultural Leadership Development program initiated by ACAPTA with the support of the Australia Council has kicked off with a group of 5 young women from the circus & physical theatre industry in Victoria. Through a program of discussions, projects, conferences and practical experience at festivals, the girls are learning about the industry and the skills they’ll need to make a difference.

Below is a description of the progam from one of the participants, Terri Cat Silvertree.

How Close is the Future?

The ACAPTA Mentoring Project was implemented to invest in the future of circus and physical theatre in Australia and to address the current lack of female cultural leaders in the sector.

ACAPTA selected five young women from the Victorian circus and physical theatre industry (including myself) to participate in the project, which is currently providing us with opportunities to engage with and learn from a diverse range of experiences that will equip us for the future.

The ACAPTA mentorees are: Bec Cooen, Ella Holmes, Luth Wolff, Alex Talamo and myself – Terri Cat Silvertree.

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We attended the Regional Arts Victoria Producers and Presenters showcase, and most recently we assisted in the presentation of Illuminated By Fire, under the guidance of Artistic Director of the project and founder of The Women’s Circus, Donna Jackson. Our participation in Illuminated By Fire at Federation Square gave us a range of insights into how site-specific work is created and developed and our involvement certainly deepened our understanding of community arts engagement and practice.

In the near future we are heading up to North-East Arnhem Land to run a youth circus program at the GARMA Festival, which is regarded as one of Australia’s most important Indigenous cultural events

For me, one of the most valuable aspects of the project so far has been meeting with women who’ve had long careers in the arts and hearing about their experiences. Listening to their stories has provided me with many invaluable insights and inspiration. It’s my hope that through projects such as this, that we can continue to create links and energize artistic practices across the circus and physical theatre as we career towards the future!

We have recently got our blog up and running, so if you’d like to know what we’re doing and read all about our insights, thoughts and reflections then head to http://acaptamentors.wordpress.com/