FRESH Youth Theatre began in 2002 in response to a needs analysis of the City of Manningham and Whitehorse, which highlighted the limited services in the local community for youth. At that time, there was no other Youth Theatre in the City of Manningham or Whitehorse. The FRESH program was written based around research compiled by the National Association of Youth Theatres which suggests effective youth theatres –
- Include all young people, regardless of ability or background
- Occur outside of school/home
- Involve young people in voluntary and purposeful activity
- Provide opportunities for young people to develop informal and supportive relationships with adults and peers
- Project a welcoming, non-judgemental atmosphere
- Provide challenge and opportunities to take risks – bringing young people to an awareness of capabilities they did not know they had
- Are committed to producing high quality theatre
The FRESH Secondary Schools Program has been effectively in Victorian schools since 2002. The Fresh Secondary School program was created based on a need identified by Shaz Mullens, the Fresh Youth Theatre Program Director and secondary teacher who writes...
"I was frustrated by the inconsistent, under-funded and under-resourced approach to staff and student wellbeing in Victorian Secondary schools. In busy environments such as schools and youth agencies, it can be difficult to provide effective counsel and support strategies covering a range of topics and issues facing the welfare of teenagers in today's society. By outsourcing their student wellbeing days to the naturopaths, nurses, personal trainers, performers, artists, educators and motivational speakers that are Fresh workshop facilitators, schools not only receive a high standard of wellbeing education for their students but rather than an increase in workload, teachers are free to engage in a more pastoral role, contributing to discussions rather than facilitating them."
FRESH Primary School Program "Telling Tales" was created in 2006 to address the issues faced by Primary School aged children such as anger management, bullying, understanding feelings and emotions, coping with adversity and provide them with a means of personal growth that impacts their future life.