Fairfax Festival 2011 Countdown

Fairfax Festival 2011 Countdown

One month to go until the 15th annual Fairfax Festival – October 25 to 28, 2011.

123 participants... 18 leaders... 14 artists... four days and one gala performance.

The countdown to the longest running festival of its type in Australia has begun!

With groups travelling from Mount Eliza, Red Cliffs, Swan Hill, Balranald, Tooleybuc, Manangatang as well as participants from the Swan Hill Specialist School and the Swan Hill Aboriginal Health Services, the 2011 festival will be the biggest yet.

“The Fairfax Festival promotes the sharing of ideas, tolerance and understanding of diverse cultures and backgrounds, but most importantly the young people who participate in the Festival learn and develop skill in the performing arts. They are given the chance to tell their own stories while making new friends and simply having fun,” Program Manager for Outreach and Access Education, Families and Young People at the Arts Centre Hannes Berger said.

First established in 1996, the Fairfax Festival began when the then Performing Arts Director for Swan Hill Rural City Council John Fowler, invited George Fairfax to direct and host an evening with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra to be held on the banks of the Murray River. George accepted the invitation but, sadly, became ill and died before the event could be presented.

With the aim of remembering George in some significant way, John approached George’s wife and Festival Patron, Vicki Fairfax, with the idea of establishing a regional schools’ theatre festival in the same general area where George had spent his childhood.

The first George Fairfax Memorial Regional Youth Theatre Festival was held in November 1997.

In 2009, the festival was remodelled into a three day, non-competitive event comprising of workshops and rehearsals with leading professional artists and a gala performance on the final evening.

This year the gala performance will commence at 6 pm on Friday, 28 October at the historic Swan Hill Town Hall PACC.

“The Fairfax Festival is a time for young people from all over Victoria who are disadvantaged by their regional or remote location or socio-economic situation to come together and show each other the creativity and ingenuity that they are capable of achieving,” Fairfax Director Claire Glenn, who is now in her fourth year of involvement with the festival, said.

“This festival provides its young participants with the opportunity to showcase their talent while learning from the best in the business and the Fairfax Festival is proud to boast a “Who’s Who” of Australian performing artists as our tutors.”

In 2011, the Fairfax Festival can also confirm the participation of guest artists Maryanne Lynch (The Malthouse Theatre – Dramaturge in Residence), Don Bridges, Kaarin Fairfax, Penelope Bartlau, Beth Child, Douglas Bair and Dan West. The festival also continues its proud association with The Arts Centre who will provide this year’s principal tutor, Petra Kaliv.

With generous support from the Regional Arts Fund, the Arts Centre, the Hugh Williamson Foundation, the Robert Salzer Foundation and Freeza, these institutions recognise the place the Fairfax Festival holds within the lives of young people disadvantaged by location, learning or linguistic disabilities and/or socio- economic factors.


September 26, 2011.

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