How Shopfront became the home of youth arts…
In 1976 The St George Theatre for Young People was founded by Errol Bray and established in Penshurst.
In 1977 the group moved to our current site, then consisting of a dance hall, two shops and an old house – all converted to an engineering factory which had closed down a few years earlier. They renamed the company Shopfront Theatre for Young People in June 1977 and became a registered co-operative owned by young people with a Board of Directors elected by shareholders, becoming the only youth theatre company in the country owned by its members.
Through fifty hour actathons, costume parades, raffles, shows, donations, loans and $35000 from the NSW Ministry of the Arts, the young people at Shopfront raised enough to purchase the current site for $102800 in 1979.
We have a rich and successful history that includes national and international tours, the creation of multiple large-scale site specific works, and created music, films, plays, musicals, art shows, installations, dance pieces, festivals, posters, magazines and much much more. In 2015 we relaunched as Shopfront Arts Co-Op which better reflects the work we do: a greater integration of a range of artforms including performance, filmmaking, writing, physical theatre – all with a strong focus on developing young people’s creativity, confidence and communication.
Shopfront opens the doors on its $2million renovation project, made possible with support from our Shopfront community and funding partners, to become a leading arts precinct in Southern Sydney.
We’re known for our daring, adventurous and socially relevant work with Young People across Australia and Internationally, and are still the only dedicated youth-led arts organisation in the Southern Sydney and Illawarra region.
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