I don't know about you, but if you've ever been down, really down, you will know that the path to the way up is not always easy. So, this heart touching theatre initiative is something that I'm really pleased to share with you.
Milk Crate Theatre uses performing arts to change the story of homelessness. It provides creative opportunities for participants to build confidence, skills and social connections to help them make positive changes in their lives. The programs are run for, with and by members of the community that have a lived experience of homelessness and the complex issues associated including people with mental health, financial, emotional and physical support needs, addiction, trauma, domestic violence and people who are recently arrived.
Milk Crate Theatres works within a Community Arts and Cultural Development (CACD) model, meaning work is community centred and collaborative. Professional practicing artists facilitate programs and projects where participants are encouraged to contribute ideas, share stories, and engage in creative expression within a safe and supported environment.
Through bringing communities together and working from a strengths-based approach, Milk Crate Theatre makes a positive impact on participant well-being. Isn't that fabulous news.
And more good news that the organisation has received confirmation of its Australia Council funding for next year’s major work Natural Order a new multidisciplinary performance work complete with an immersive installation experience comprising of live performance, film, sound and movement. Performances are scheduled in Homelessness Week, August 2019.
Alongside this funding news there have also been two most relevant appointments, the appointment of new Artistic Director, Margot Politis, and a new board member, with Homelessness NSW Senior Policy and Research Officer Digby Hughes joining the organisation. Ms Politis was previously Milk Crate Theatre’s Associate Director, and brings over 15 years of practise to her new appointment. She is a highly regarded leader in NSW inclusive arts practice as a performer, choreographer, and devisor of new dance theatre and performance installations. She has led the development and delivery of Milk Crate Theatre’s successful Headway Program.
“Milk Crate Theatre is an unique intersection of art, accessibility, and social justice advocacy. Over the past year we have really solidified our processes that offer educated and genuine access to artistic expression, by people who have lived experiences of homelessness and mental health support needs. I feel incredibly honoured to accept this role, and look forward to an amazing year ahead,” said Ms Politis.
The appointment of Digby Hughes to Milk Crate Theatre’s Board of Directors is an exciting step forward for the company, with Mr Hughes applying knowledge and networks from over 20 years in the community sector focused on advocacy, policy and service delivery. Outside his role at Homelessness NSW, Mr Hughes has also served as Vice-President of the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre and is currently a Director of Amelie Housing – the St Vincent’s De Paul Housing Company. The appointment of Digby Hughes to Milk Crate Theatre’s Board of Directors is an exciting step forward for the company, with Mr Hughes applying knowledge and networks from over 20 years in the community sector focused on advocacy, policy and service delivery.
Chair of Milk Crate Theatre, Michael Sirmai commented, “I am delighted that Milk Crate Theatre is promoting Margot and appointing Digby. Margot has made a significant contribution to the Company in the last couple of years and will deliver strongly in this key role.
“We are also fortunate to welcome Digby given his significant experience in the homelessness sector. He will help us to evolve and deepen our impact as we enter the second year of our refreshed strategy.”
This year Milk Crate Theatre will expand its Headway and Pathways Programs, projects run in conjunction with TAFE NSW using performance and mentorship to provide participants with alternative pathways into tertiary studies.