Local, Independant and Effective

Highwater Theatre - providing more than entertainment

Posted October 21, 2016


Ms McGOWAN (Indi) (16:35): I would like to acknowledge in this House the wonderful work of the HighWater Theatre company and to thank them for their performance on Friday night. This innovative partnership between Somebody's Daughter Theatre Company, Gateway Community Health Service and the Victorian education department began in Wodonga in 2000 and is now into its 16th year. It is regarded nationally as a model of best practice for its successful community collaboration as an arts-led education program for disadvantaged people. Ninety-two per cent of the performers have experienced homelessness and many other types of disadvantage but, through this wonderful program, they have been able to achieve great success—not only in theatre, but 85 per cent of HighWater Theatre participants have now entered mainstream schooling; nine have completed year 12; 15 have found employment and two have completed university degrees. It is a wonderful, wonderful collaboration, and I am very proud to support it.

However, as you know, Mr Deputy Speaker Broadbent, these programs need money, and this particular program is short of $300,000 or it might fold, which would be such a sad thing to happen. So I am coming here to parliament to ask the government to find that extra bit of money to enable this really good program to continue. In the meantime, I would like to acknowledge the work of everybody involved, but particularly Maud Clark, Vern Hilditch, Leonard Peardy, the Gateway Theatre people and the different schools for all the work that they do. To the performers: it was a fantastic night on Friday. You did so well, and I am so proud of your work. Thank you.

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