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'Opening Doors' to fight domestic violence

UPDATE: See how Tantrum Youth Arts is 'Opening Doors' in 2016

With close to 30,000 domestic violence incidents reported in NSW alone last financial year*, Tantrum Youth Arts is taking a strategic approach targeting prevention and early intervention.

With funding support from nib foundation Tantrum today announced the rollout of an interactive performance that aims to inform and empower young people on the issues of domestic violence and sexting. The funding will be used to present the theatre-­in-education experience, Opening Doors, to more than 2,000 year 10 students across the Central Coast and Hunter region in terms two and three next year.

This will be the second time students are given the opportunity to participate in this influential program following the success of its flagship screening in 2014. In a review of the 2014 performance, 91 per cent of participating schools said that students' knowledge about domestic violence had increased after seeing the show.

The audience will have the opportunity to ask questions and interact with the actors, as well as with a real solicitor and police officer who feature in the performance. There will also be counsellors and legal service providers on hand at the performances to provide assistance and information to students in need, thanks to support from Cooperative Legal Service Delivery Inc.

Opening Doors is written and directed by Tantrum's Resident Teaching Artist, Tamara Gazzard, and features local young professional actors employed by Tantrum.

"The play engages students in a unique and accessible way. It is interactive, so the students watching are encouraged to actively contribute to the play and problem-solve with the characters in the story. It's hoped that this will empower young people to seek appropriate information or help if they are experiencing similar issues in their own lives," said Tamara.

nib foundation Executive Officer, Amy Tribe, said Tantrum's Opening Doors initiative is a valuable tool in generating awareness among young people and taking action at a grassroots level.

"By educating young people about abuse, whether it be physical or emotional, we hope they become better able to identify cases of domestic violence and know the avenues available to seek help. It's also about empowering young people in the community to take action to stamp out violence rather than accepting this type of behaviour and turning a blind eye."

Opening Doors will be performed at six selected schools in terms two and three next year in a component of the project funded by the Kirby Foundation, with an additional 10 schools attending performances free of charge at the Black Box Theatre at Newcastle Community Arts Centre with the support of nib foundation.

Schools are invited to apply now by visiting the Tantrum website.

*Source: NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research