ACT News


Australian Talented Youth Project to perform at Parliament House

Twelve students aged from 15 to 23 from around Australia have been mentored by ACT artists over the past week during the fourth Australian Talented Youth Project. On Wednesday, they will demonstrate their talents in a free public performance at Parliament House combining Indigenous and modern dance, jazz, vocal performance and digital art.

Project director Jolanta Gallagher said the project included five students from the ACT and seven from elsewhere in Australia including Cairns, Alice Springs, Launceston and Hobart, chosen by audition. Some of the 51 students who have participated in the  program since 2007 have gone to careers with organisations such as Cirque du Soleil and Bangarra Dance Theatre.

One of the dance students being mentored was 15-year-old Jonah Johnston, who was encouraged to apply for the Project by the artistic director of Biddigal Performing Arts dance group in Cairns, with which he's danced for the past two years after a year with the Bangarra Rekindling program run by retired Bangarra dancers. 

Johnston said, "My mother was  a dancer – she went to NAISDA Dance College in Sydney."

He hoped to do the same. 

During the intensive study in the Project working with Alison Plevey and Liz Lea he said, "I've definitely started improving my dance technique" and he wanted to take what he learned back to Biddigal.

Alice Springs singing student Danica Lammertsma, 16, also said she was learning a lot she would be able to take home with her. She was working with soprano and singing teacher Louise Page and among her studies was learning a couple of solo songs, Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again from Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera and Poor Wandering One from Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance.  

Lea said her main job would be bringing together the performative elements of all the various students.  Others worked with jazz musicians John Mackey and Miroslaw Bukovsky and digital artist Jean Philippe Demarais.  The students would be put together in a program that showcased them individually before bringing them together as an ensemble on Wednesday.

The free final public performance by the Australian Talented Youth Project  is on at the Theatre, Parliament House, Canberra on Wednesday, February 10 at 3.30 for 4.15pm (allow time for parking and security scan). More information: 0430 513 073 or