Merrigong Talking Point - Creativity and Coming of Age

A conversation with Phil Crawford, Matilda Ridgway, Anna Beniuk and Renee Wood.

Learn more about theatre, the arts, and the world around us.

25 Feb – 25 Feb

What are some of the issues facing young people in Australian society?  And what role can creative arts play a role in addressing these? Join us for this important conversation as we look at some of the challenges faced by the youth of today, including bullying, racism and youth suicide.

Sharing their insights will be special guests Phil Crawford, Creative Director of Beyond Empathy, Jasper Jones actor Matilda Ridgway, and Anna Beniuk and Renee Wood from headspace Wollongong.

Phil Crawford’s films explore the borderlands of filmmaking. His unconventional approach is exemplified by the unusual awards he been given for his work: an AFI (Australian Film Institute) Award for the ‘concept’ of a film, a Film Critics Circle of Australia Award for Innovative Combination of Documentary and Fiction, and an Arts Justice Fellowship from the New South Wales Law Foundation (all for the 1999 docu-drama HURT).

Building on his experiences as a youth worker, much of Phil’s work has been built around collaborations with people usually excluded from the process of film making. Phillip and his colleagues at Beyond Empathy use filmmaking to create opportunities that address disadvantage and develop resilience among people who have experienced hardship.

His most recent collaborative-made film Rites of Passage received a special jury mention at the Warsaw Film Festival in the Free Spirit Competition and screened on the ABC in Australia.
Matilda Ridgway is a young actor who has trained at the Ensemble Studios, Atlantic Theatre Company, SITI Company and at L’Ecole Philippe Gaulier in Paris. Matilda plays the role of teenager Eliza Wishart in Jasper Jones.

Anna Beniuk and Renee Woods are health professionals dedicated to making a difference in the lives of young people and families. headspace Wollongong is a free youth health service for young people aged 12-25 years, providing access to a variety of experienced health professionals including psychologists, counsellors, youth workers and doctors.

The Talking Point will be facilitated by Merrigong Associate Producer, and young creative, Annie Clapton.

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Venue Information

Illawarra Performing Arts Centre, Foyer


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Free. No bookings required.

Performance Times
General Public:
Sat 25 Feb 4.50pm

Running Time
Approx. 60 mins (no interval)