St Martins Youth Arts Centre

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St Martins Youth Arts Centre is a youth-focused Performing arts center in Melbourne, Victoria. It is a non-profit organisation[1] based in South Yarra, Victoria. It runs regular drama and dance workshops for young people and leases its theatres and rehearsal rooms to various production companies.[2]



In 1934, Brett Randall and Hal Percy founded the Melbourne Little Theatre and, in 1956, opened a theatre on the present site of St Martins. Operation of the theatre continued until 1977, when the Victorian Government purchased the site with the intent to establish a youth arts centre. In 1978, an organisation, then known as St Martins, took up residence, and on 18 March 1980, St Martins Youth Arts Centre was established as a company and charitable institution. Finally, on 28 April 1982, The Hon. Race Mathews, MLA, Minister for the Arts opened the completed arts centre.[3]


St Martins alumni include:

Barrie Kosky
Colin Lane
Catherine McClements
Ben Mendelsohn
Gina Riley
Noah Taylor
Mark Trevorrow (Bob Downe)
Tripod (Scott Edgar, Simon Hall and Steven Gates)
Jane Turner
Geire Kami
Matt Day
Madeleine West
Frank Woodley
Nicole Kidman
Geoffrey Rush
Baz Luhrmann
Lally Katz
Julia Zemiro[3]


South Yarra[edit]

St Martins owns three buildings in South Yarra: a theatre complex and an administration building (on St Martins Lane) and a converted church (on Millswyn St).[4]


St Martins theatre complex contains two theatres: the Randall Theatre and the Irene Mitchell Studio. The Randall theatre is a traditional rectangular theatre, with rows of fixed ascending seats and a standard lighting fixture. However, the stage is flat, so that the terms "upstage" and "downstage" are not literally accurate. The Studio, by contrast, is a "black box" space, with no permanent stage or seating, though materials are kept that can be assembled into a seating area. The studio also has industrial lighting. Both theatres also have a white backdrop that can be used for projections and coloured washes. The complex also has a box office and dressing rooms.[5][6]

Administration Building[edit]

The Administration building's only rented space is the rehearsal room.[7]

Church Hall[edit]

The Church Hall is a rehearsal room particularly suited to dance.[8]


St Martins regularly uses a room in Northcote Town Hall for its Northcote workshops.


St Martins' holds drama workshops for young people at its South Yarra and Northcote locations.

Projects and Productions[edit]


Big Sky Town - following production season at St Martins, script (by Amelia Roper) was placed on VCE syllabus

The Paul Kelly Project - a Paul Kelly-inspired performance created and played by emerging artists.

Somebody - based on children's ideas of the future (performed by 5-12 year old students)

The Eavesdropping Project - devised and performed by teenage artists

Arrivals and Departures - experiences of immigration to Australia

Control - The Chaos Choir

1989 - Directed by Adena Jacobs and Sarah Austin[9]


Cherish - performed and devised by St Martins and Rawcus ensemble

The Things That Keep Me Awake at Night - St Martins 5-12 year old students

Glee Club presents THE COMPLAINTS CHOIR - St Martins Glee Club

The Dream Factory - Directed by Brienna Macnish

Don't Look Now - Directed by Susie Dee[10]


One Day - by 5-12 year old students

The Lost Girl - Directed by Sarah Austin

Creative Development: RAT - Written by Chris Summers[11]


Cockroach - Minimalist drama by Canberra Youth Theatre

Accidentally Ugly - Project and performance by 5-12 year old actors inspired by the story of the Oscar Wilde's The Selfish Giant.

No Walls - Site specific performances at the Northcote Town Hall and the Ian Potter Children's Garden

Love Letters - A year-long project of collecting love letters from the Melbourne public and adapting those into a play (performed and directed by St Martins)[12]


Hatched is an annual festival of original theatre produced by the young artists comprising CATAPULT and presented at St Martins. 2012 is the ninth year.[2]

Site Guide[edit]

Site Guide is an annual contemporary dance flash mob event set in the Melbourne CBD. Currently, Site Guide has occurred in 2012.[2]


In 1985, third year NIDA students (including former St Martins student Catherine McClements) travelled to Melbourne to present their trilogy play The Greeks at St Martins Youth Arts Centre. The three plays were directed by John Clark, Gale Edwards and Kevin Jackson.


External links[edit]

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Category:Melbourne culture Category:Performing arts Category:Theatres in Australia Category:Buildings and structures in Melbourne