Short Black Opera tutors Indigenous children at Benalla October 24-28

OPERA HIGHLIGHT: Short Black Opera leader, composer and educator Deborah Cheetham AO will work with 20 Indigenous children at Benalla.

OPERA HIGHLIGHT: Short Black Opera leader, composer and educator Deborah Cheetham AO will work with 20 Indigenous children at Benalla.

ABORIGINAL children at Benalla will hit the right notes under the guidance of a renowned Yorta Yorta soprano. 

Short Black Opera educator and composer Deborah Cheetham AO will lead the children as part of residency at Benalla from October 24-28.

It will culminate in a free concert on October 28 at the Benalla Performing Arts and Convention Centre.

Cheetham said it was the first residency of its type at Benalla.

“For more than one thousand generations the First People of this land have passed on all knowledge of geography, the sciences, medicine and humanity through the visual and performing arts,” Cheetham said.

“Short Black Opera understands that this is the most powerful way to know the world and give meaning to everything in it.

“Through this project we aim to not only inspire and empower Indigenous children but also to provide them with real pathways into the professional arts industry.”

Benalla’s Indigenous children in Years 4, 5 and 6 will work with Cheetham and the Short Black Opera artists for the week.

They will develop their skills in singing, songwriting, visual arts and storytelling.

They will be inspired and empowered to explore their talents and cultural identity and will prepare repertoire for a final lunchtime concert at the end of the week featuring a new song that they co-write with Cheetham.

Benalla P-12 College student Steven Batman met Cheetham during a workshop earlier in the year.

“It was so good and I’m looking forward to doing something new and fun and learning about my Indigenous culture,” he said.

Short Black Opera Company continues to create sustainable pathways and produce high quality performance outcomes for Indigenous adults and children.

Cheetham had successful seasons with Pecan Summer in Mooroopna (2010), the Arts Centre, Melbourne (2011), the State Theatre Centre of WA (2012) and Her Majesty’s Theatre in Adelaide (2014).

Deborah Cheetham AO will work with 20 Indigenous children at Benalla, some of whom are pictured. Picture: JANE STILL

Deborah Cheetham AO will work with 20 Indigenous children at Benalla, some of whom are pictured. Picture: JANE STILL

As a result of SBO’s training programs, Indigenous artists gain entry to Australia’s peak Arts Colleges, Conservatoriums and universities with a 100 per cent completion rate.

The Living Culture Together Project is auspiced by Multicultural Arts Victoria, and facilitated by local Aboriginal and non Aboriginal educators, community, arts and environmental workers to explore new ways of creating social and cultural exchanges among Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.

The Lowdown

What: Short Black Opera   

When: October 28, Benalla Performing Arts and Centre, noon  

Tickets: free  

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