Get loud: course encourage girls to join arts

There are plenty of girls at Wollongong Youth Centre gigs but few are involved with the shows.

A 10-week course is now being planned to give young Wollongong women skills they can use on stage and behind the scenes in the hope they will become more engaged with the performing arts.

Leading some of the sessions will be Wollongong's Anna Chaplin, a graduate of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy who went on to work in television, Off-Broadway and as a casting assistant in New York City.

Participants would decide the program content, with singing, circus, street performance, sound and lighting skills all possible if there was the demand, Ms Chaplin said.

"A lot of areas of the industry are still very much a boys' club," Ms Chaplin said.

"No matter what the girls want to do - start a rock band, something that has multimedia and sounds - there's a space for everyone. If you're a girl who doesn't want to sing or even play an instrument, you can perhaps come along and learn about the lighting or sound or costuming. We're going to tailor the program to them."

Toby Schaefer-Darling, co-ordinator of Wollongong City Council youth services, said the course would conclude with a performance - perhaps an all-girl band or circus troupe.

"We'd like to encourage women to develop their skills and consider performing in front of a crowd," he said.

The program, called Girls Get Louder, is free and starts on February 20, at 3.30pm, at Wollongong Youth Centre.

Call the centre on 4226 5969 for further information.

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