Awards double for Outback Theatre for Young People

By Olivia Duffey

Outback Theatre for Young People has been recognised for its incredible work and ‘‘genuine involvement’’ in the community with two awards.

OTYP last week won the NSW Youth Work Award 2019 for Outstanding Work with Regional Young People in October and the NSW/ACT Regional Achievement and Community Award 2019 for Connecting Communities.

Creative producer Sarah Parsons represented the not-for-profit, community-led organisation at both events and said she is proud of both wins.

‘‘OTYP is so much more than an arts organisation. It is a place where young people can feel safe, accepted, encouraged, supported, and free to be themselves,’’ she said.

‘‘Youth work is something we do as an organisation within our creative projects and everyday activity, and we are honoured to be recognised among a group of people who operate specifically in the Youth Work sector. 

‘‘We are a proud, regionally based organisation and we work with young people within our 30,000km square jurisdiction across south-west New South Wales, but also seek out opportunities to engage young people from across other remote and rural areas.

‘‘We are committed to making sure that geography does not mean young people are denied arts opportunities.’’

While the small cash prize is a bonus for the organisation, it’s the exposure and recognition from outside the arts sector that means the most.

‘‘We were one of the only arts organisations at both awards ceremonies, and I think that speaks to what we do in small communities — based in the arts, but encapsulating all aspects of young people’s lives,’’ Miss Parsons said.

‘‘I think this shows that OTYP is more than an arts organisation, and it always has been. The art is the vehicle but the outcomes are so much more varied, meaningful, inspiring and sometimes surprising.

‘‘For me, I see these awards as a recognition of the hard work I’ve been doing to make sure OTYP is achieving our goals; working across the smallest communities and most isolated young people, creating rich, meaningful and relevant experiences with professional artists, uniting people through a shared celebration, and advocating for the arts in some of the most remote and rural areas.’’

Miss Parsons said OTYP has survived against all the odds and can continue to provide an outlet to regional and rural communities.

‘‘As it is our 30th birthday this year, we’d love to hear from anyone who has memories about the organisation and their involvement over the years. Jump on our Facebook page to get in touch with us to make sure you’re a part of the story of OTYP, from now and into the future.”