Claire Glenn – Other Examples of Work with Young People


Fairfax Festival

Presented by Swan Hill Rural City Council

Artistic Director – Claire Glenn

General Manager – Adrian Corbett


The Fairfax Festival is a series of workshops, activities and performances specifically for young people aged between 12 and 17 from regional and remote Australia. Beginning in Swan Hill, Victoria in 1997, the Fairfax is held annually in memory of George Fairfax, who grew up in Nangiloc, a small town in the Mallee region of Victoria. He was well known for his support and encouragement of activities that involved young people in the arts, especially through places like the Melbourne University, the Victorian College of the Arts and St Martin’s Youth Arts Centre. The Fairfax has three distinct phases:

  • Four in-community workshops to help create a 10min micro performance piece
  • Two and a half days of rehearsals and workshops in Swan Hill, Victoria
  • A final community performance at the Swan Hill Town Hall

Throughout the year, participants work in groups of ten, either in school or in community groups, to develop a short work around a theme.  Each group is paired with a Professional Artist or Arts Organisation to oversee their development.   The participating groups work for four full days with their partnering artist to devise their piece.  Then, in September, participants come to Swan Hill for four days of workshops, rehearsals with Artistic Director, Claire Glenn, events, YESfest and fun.

The Fairfax Festival is a space for young people who feel like they “don’t fit in” or are misunderstood, to express themselves, to make friends, build their confidence, increase self worth and self esteem and to have a fantastic and fun time.

Previous participants have gone on to University, Drama School, become Teachers, Gallery Owners, travelled the World and have be given the courage to achieve whatever they want to achieve.

During Claire Glenn and Adrian Corbett’s tenure, they also introduced the Young Artist in Residence (YAR) Program, a year-long internship for a previous Fairfax participant whereby they worked with Claire, Adrian, the administrative staff and guest artists to help deliver the entire Festival.

Claire and Adrian also established the Young Entertainers In The Street Festival (YESfest) so that young musicians from the regions could also be involved in the Festival.  They spent time being coached by professional musicians, recording a single and then performing in the main street of Swan Hill to a crowd of Festival Participants and the public.

Artists who have worked with the Fairfax Festival include (but are not limited to) Douglas Bair, Petra Kalive, Barking Spider Visual Theatre, Back To Back Theatre, Aimee Blesing, Tamara Lee, Tristan Louth-Robins, Don Bridges, Dan West, the Melbourne Arts Centre, Malthouse Theatre, Snuff Puppets, Marruk Marruk Project, Brad Williams, Alex Pinder, Phil Cousins and Heather Richardson, Beth Child, Jess Fairfax, Kaarin Fairfax, Ryan McRobb, Penelope Bartlau, Brian Davidson Blue, Felicity Steel, Lukas Robins, Pierre Proske, flybz, Essential Theatre, Penelope Bartlau and more.

The Fairfax Festival is now known as the Fairfax Youth Initiative and you can find more out about it here



Renmark Arts Partnership

Presented by Riverland Youth Theatre, Renmark Primary Schools Partnership, DECD and Kids Matter

Facilitators:  Claire Glenn and Stu Nankivell


The Renmark Arts Partnership (RAP) was a 12 month Performing and Digital Arts Program for ninety Year 6 students from Renmark Primary School, Renmark West Primary School and Renmark North Primary School. These are all feeder schools for Renmark High School, a rural secondary school 250km north east of Adelaide.


The Riverland Youth Theatre engaged two artists, Claire Glenn and Stu Nankivell, who worked with the four groups of students and their teacher for half a day each fortnight. There was a strong focus in actively developing the children’s creative skills whilst being mindful to build resilience, self worth and leadership.


The Department for Education and Child Development’s Australian Curriculum Officers, Kirralee Baldock, Judith Rose and Deb Platt played key roles in providing the teachers with professional learning about The Arts Australian Curriculum and its pedagogy.  Paul Calahan from Kidsmatter provided training for the artists and teachers which focused on their mental health and wellbeing framework and the tools and resources they recommend to nurture happy, balanced kids.


For 12 months Claire and Stu worked with four groups of these Year 6 students culminating in the production of four short films written, performed, directed, filmed, designed, produced, composed, and animated by the young people themselves, whilst being guided by Claire and Stu.  These four films were entered into TropJr, with three being shortlisted and two being finalists.  You can watch examples of these films here:


Renmark West Primary School:  There’s A Bee In My Bellybutton

Renmark Primary School – Group Two:  The Escape Plan


The project was incredibly successful and resulted in, not only, success in the films created, but also in the growth in self confidence, resilience, ensemble, determination, ambition and friendships within the young people involved.


A premiere of the films was held at the Chaffey Theatre where the young participants and their friends and family got to walk to red carpet and see their films on the big screen.




Run, Zombie, Run and Zombie Gauntlet

Presented by Carclew’s Expressway Arts and the City of Onkaparinga

Facilitated by Claire Glenn


Zombie Gauntlet

Presented by Carclew’s Expressway Arts and the City of Onkaparinga

Devised by Run, Zombie, Run participants

Creative Producer:  Alysha Herrmann

Directed by Claire Glenn

Sound: Tristan Louth-Robins

Design: Olivia Zanchetta

Design Consultant:  Morag Cook

Lighting: Craig Clifford

Makeup by Vanessa Kalderovskis and Ryan Batemen

Documentation:  Sam Konicek,


Run Zombie, Run was a community and cultural mapping by ‘Stealth’  for young people in the southern suburbs of Adelaide. Run Zombie, Run was a project of Carclew’s Expressway Arts under the umbrella of their DISCOVERY project in 2015, encouraging young people to engage with their community, to discover new places and to volunteer for organisations within the community.  In setting up Run Zombie, Run, we posed the questions:  What would we do in a Zombie Apocalypse?  Where, in the City of Onkaparinga, could you go to survive the Zombie Apocalypse?  What would your survival strategy be?  The final outcome of Run Zombie, Run was an immersive theatre presentation called Zombie Gauntlet.


Twelve participants, aged between 11 and 18, met with facilitator and director, Claire Glenn, and ExpressWay Arts Creative Producer, Alysha Herrmann each Friday afternoon for two hours to plan their version of a Zombie Apocalypse and how they would survive it.  These workshops were all leading up to the final outcome: the Zombie Gauntlet, held on 30 May 2015.


In the early stages of the project, participants identified what kind of Zombie their Zombie would be (ie virus vs necromancy), what their survival strategies would be, essential skills required for surviving the Zombie Apocalypse, what types of people would survive the Zombie Apocalypse and places they could hide within the City of Onkaparinga.


Each week we used theatre, movement, visual art, makeup and design to develop our final outcome:  an immersive theatre experience entitled, Zombie Gauntlet that would be staged inside South Youth Exchange, the youth centre in Christie Downs. Using a variety of theatrical techniques and improvisations, we created characters.


Each of the main participants of Run, Zombie, Run had a character name, a comprehensive backstory, and personality traits, even, if, in the end some of them became corpses or zombies.  Each participant had a role to play. Three of our young actors took on the roles of survivors.  These would be the people who would guide the audience through the Zombie Gauntlet.  We spent many sessions working through all viable scenarios of how our audience might behave and how the actors could “wrangle” them to make sure they followed the course of the gauntlet, for their own safety and for the safety of the actors.


Other actors were placed around the different zones and would all have roles to play.  Actors who started as survivors themselves, were brutally attacked by zombies and turned into zombies right in front of the audience.  Corpses came to life. At one point the audience had to make a hard decision:  would they help someone who had been bitten, or would they save themselves.


We spent many hours running the Zombie Gauntlet with Claire and Alysha going through as audience members, posing questions, bringing up scenarios and pushing our actors to problem solve and think on their feet.


With one week to go, we brought in 20 more young people from the Christie Downs, Christie’s Beach, Noarlunga and surrounding areas to become our ‘Zombie Extras’.  They came in, met the core cast/participants, and were taken through their training in how to become zombies.  This was run by participants Jaxon (aged 13) and Jasper (aged 16).  Then we split them into groups and took them through the Zombie Gauntlet.  This was a great test for our three survivors as the extras were genuinely scared during the experience and the actors had to get used to not asking Claire what to do and instead had to solve the issues themselves.  This was invaluable experience for all of the actors and, we made some final changes to the Zombie Gauntlet based on the test runs with the extras.  Once the extras were familiar the performance, they were inserted into it.  This really brought the experience to life.


On May 30, we presented Zombie Gauntlet a total of 13 times (the whole experience was only 6 minutes in length).  Members of the public, family members, Arts Industry professionals, Council employees, Youth Workers and invited guests came through the Gauntlet and were all thoroughly entertained, terrified and blown away by what 12 young people from the City of Onkaparinga had created.  It was an overwhelming success.


The process itself contributed to building a stronger, more cohesive community by investing in the skills, knowledge and hopes of the young people we worked with.


Leaders in the community were amazed that these 12 young people, with little or no experience in the arts and with no prior knowledge of each other, were able to come together, to develop the personal and professional bonds required to create such a large scale art work.  The Manager of the Southern Youth Exchange was overwhelmed that the building she works in every day could have a completely different function.  Members of the community loved being a part of the Zombie Gauntlet.  They were thrilled that something so exhilarating was taking place in Christie Downs and that young people had created it.






by Sam Konicek,


Image slideshow:

by Alysha Herrmann





Unpacking Unley’s Lost Worlds

Presented by The City Of Unley and SAYarts

Facilitated and Directed by by Claire Glenn and Anthony Kelly

With Guest Artists Bec Pannell Nikki Allen, Tristan Louth-Robins, Britt Plummer, Sophia Simmons, Ashton Malcolm and Bernadette Klavins


Unpacking Unley’s Lost Worlds was a Cultural Mapping project devised by Claire Glenn and Anthony Kelly, and presented by SAYarts and the City of Unley.  Using the ‘Discover Historic Unley’ resource, young people spent six days in January 2016 exploring Unley, finding important historic sites, discovering interesting spaces and creating artworks that made up a large-scale treasure hunt that was open to the public on the final day of the project.


Using theatre, sound art, projection, film, photography, character development, dance, art installations and even a game of table tennis with the Mayor, the 18 young participants created this immersive and experiential theatre piece throughout historic Unley.


Over 100 people attended the enormous treasure hunt all around Unley, discovering important historical places, participating in performance art, listening to stories, learning to dance and experiencing a journey of discovery.



Image by Sam Konicek



Where To?  From Here!

Presented by D’Faces Of Youth Arts, Whyalla

Facilitated by Claire Glenn and Anthony Kelly

Direction by Claire Glenn

Digital Art by Anthony Kelly

Devised and Written by Where To? From Here! participants


Where To? From Here! was a week-long residency undertaken at D’Faces of Youth Arts in Whyalla in October 2016.  The project was developed as a way to engage children and young people in Whyalla community in connection with the Arrium Steelworks going into receivership.  How did the potential loss of the central industry of Whyalla impact on its young people?  Where To? From Here! found out.


Using Verbatim and Documentary theatre techniques, Where To? From Here! explored the idea of how place influences who you are – especially when there is uncertainty in that place.


During the residency, the young people explored what they love and hate, their hopes and dreams for the future and their concerns about their lives.  They played games, explored their insides and outside, became an ensemble and were themselves.  They interviewed each other and local community members to create a moving and enlightening piece of theatre.


The ensemble also came up with inventive solutions for “saving Whyalla”.  One of these solutions has formed the foundation for a new work in Whyalla in late 2017.  Look out for Area 53.



Images by Anthony Kelly



Losing Faith In Unicorns

Presented by Carclew’s Expressway Arts

Devised and performed by Kids Against Humanity

Facilitated by Claire Glenn

Directed by Claire Glenn


Have you ever wondered what is going on in the life of that teenager sitting next to you on the bus, or hanging around in a public place? Have you wanted to know why they are laughing, or why they are crying or why they are wearing that?

Created by real teenagers in collaboration with professional artists, Losing Faith in Unicorns took place in a real Suburban house in Christies Beach and invited the audience to touch, hear, sit, open, rifle through and explore. Part performance, part immersive installation, part choose your own experience, and it was all part of DreamBig Children’s Festival.

Rather than just sitting in a chair in a dark theatre, watching actors on stage, Losing Faith in Unicorns was an immersive experience in a house. Like, a REAL house. The audience walked around and was able to open drawers and fridges and microwaves, while performance and other things happened around them.

It was funny and heartbreaking and it made people think and question. We wanted audience members to go away thinking about the young people in their own lives and the young people in our community and how we all have a responsibility to each other. To do better. To listen more deeply. To love more. To forgive more. To believe in each other. To keep trying to understand and build connections.

Losing Faith in Unicorns is presented by Kids Against Humanity (a youth ensemble part of Carclew’s ExpressWay Arts), an initiative of Carclew jointly undertaken with the City of Onkaparinga.

Production Images are here:

Five minute promo is here:

Behind the Scenes is here:

Work In Progress is here:






1 –  Losing Faith in Unicorns demonstrates that working in a suburban setting can be both a worthwhile pursuit for budding young theatre makers and can produce a distinctive interactive theatre work that pushes the boundaries of art making and art experiences. I was consumed by the work, by the way it smashed protocols, and by the authenticity of the raw talent it nurtured.


2 – I thought it was an astonishing piece of work: thorough and intelligent in its devising, presented with courage, focus, and maturity.


3 – Thanks so much for the unique, honest, raw and moving experience of Losing Faith in Unicorns. I thought it an amazing collaboration and production from the cast and stories to the imaginative installation, use of technology and artistic presentation.


4 – I just spoke with Dad, who was moved to tears by the performance today.  His words: “it was affecting and hauntingly political.  I was completely blown away.”


5 – As we are in our late 70s it was a challenging experience for us in the most positive way possible. To listen, read and hear how these young people are coping with their angst in a world so different from the one in which we grew up and even different from the one in which we brought our children up, was enlightening to say the least. It has reminded us in no uncertain manner of the struggles these young people are coping with on a daily basis. We should like to extend our thanks to all who were involved in this venture, to those of you who gave these teens a voice, who understood the need for these voices to be heard. To the young people involved we extend a huge thank you for having the courage and honesty to lay your lives bare and express your fears in such an honest way.


6 – I was lucky enough to be in the bathroom when ”Sam” locked the door for the last time for that performance. How brave to lay herself on the line in such a small space.   She was brilliant; raw, honest and touching. My daughter’s friend’s mother is dying of brain cancer, and to be able to share Sam’s monologue about her aunt’s death with her has since allowed for some difficult and truthful conversations, and a deepening of mine and my daughter’s relationship with her. This was one of the best pieces of theatre that I have seen. What a great platform for starting those tricky conversations with our teenagers.


Kids Against Humanity members:


1 – It helped me to realise I am not alone with what I was going through and that other people are going through the same type of things. I am proud of myself because before I joined KAH I was extremely anti-social and I had a hard time showing people who I really was.


2 – At times it was hard to be part of such a moving project. I am extremely proud of my group, but myself also, I grew so much during this project, working with people of all ages and all walks of life.


3 – I have learnt to talk more freely and don’t worry about being judged. 


4 – The atmosphere, the people and the jokes were so inviting and made me have a really good feeling in my stomach. One of the things I am proud of is the program as a whole as we have grown as people over the space of a short while, we have become closer every day and nothing can change that.


5 – This is the first thing I have been a part of that I can truly say I’m proud of.


6 – KAH has meant so much to me providing marvellous productions, an awesome cast, a healthy social haven and a sense of purpose. I don’t know how I would live without it. 


2017 & 2018


Presented by D’Faces of Youth Arts

Concept by Lachlan Judd and Adam Oosthouzen

Devised and Performed by D’Faces of Youth Arts Acting Ensemble

Facilitated by Claire Glenn and Anthony Kelly

Directed by Claire Glenn

Assisted by Anthony Kelly


Area 53 was a cultural mapping and community engagement project conceived, developed, installed and performed in Whyalla by the young acting ensemble from D’Faces of Youth Arts.  In 2016, Artists Claire Glenn and Anthony Kelly were working with D’faces on a project called “Where To? From Here!” – a response to the administration of Arium One Steel.  What would become of Whyalla if there was no steel industry?  Did the young people see a future for the town and what alternative industries could attract people to it?


Lachlan Judd and Adam Oosthouzen came up with a brilliant idea:  stage an alien invasion.  It was such a good idea that the then Creative Producer, Deb Hughes, along with Claire and Anthony, decided it should be a reality.


12 months of careful planning between Claire, Anthony, Deb and new Creative Producers Olivia White and Rob Golding, a term of workshops and two weeks of full time making, developing and performing culminated in the production of Area 53.  But not just Area 53, the project.  The young people involved explored the town by stealth as they recorded footage of Aliens and distributed Alien information.  They found disused spaces around Whyalla and selected the best space for Area 53.  They interviewed members of the community, cultivated their skills in sculpture, animation, costume design, character development, performance, created ARSE (Association for the Response to and Science of Extraterrestrials) before the Government had ARSE (Australian Research and Space Publication) and  brought Immersive Theatre to Whyalla for the very first time.


Area 53 was more than a concept or a piece of theatre – it was completely new experience for the young people involved and one that connected them to professional artists, their communities and, most importantly, each other.


It was a huge, exhausting and, at times, overwhelming project, but the outcome was achieved by an extraordinary group of young people aged 8-14.  It was a credit to their skill, their ambition, their commitment and their determination.

Production Video:

Development Images: