22 September 2017
Polyglot Theatre has developed an innovative partnership program that marries sport, culture and creative expression, First On The Ladder.
Devised in collaboration with Beyond Empathy, the Rumbalara Football and Netball Club in Shepparton and the Moree Boomerangs in New South Wales, First On The Ladder is a three-year program designed to engaged a sporting community in creative practice.
The program centres around the young people from these two Indigenous sports clubs – celebrating their culture and achievements through a range of creative experiences including zine-making, street art, radio broadcasting and play workshops.
A boisterous and successful first year has already rolled out, with enthusiastic participation from both clubs.
In Shepparton, Melbourne artist Michael Fikaris and local Yorta Yorta artist Tammy-Lee Atkinson worked with participants on game days at the club to create zines, stickers and large-scale paste-ups that were displayed in the community. Four editions of the zine Rumba were published, fifty four paste-ups were exhibited in laneways and on buildings, and thirteen community partners were involved in the project. Similar activities were undertaken in Moree.
Two radio stations, Rumba Radio in Shepparton and the BBC (Boomerangs Broadcast Corporation) in Moree – have also been established, providing participants the opportunity to deliver live FM broadcasts on game days, building their skills in sports commentary, DJ-ing and audio production.
Creative play workshops for younger children in each community saw participants harnessing their creativity through drawing activities, developing characters and storylines, and constructing sets (including a complete café), costumes, and parades of strange and wonderful creatures.
In its first year, over 150 young people were engaged in First On The Ladder. The program continues in February 2018.