For many, poetry is often considered a niche art form, reserved for academics and literary enthusiasts. However, a remarkable initiative called “Poetry in Action (PIA)” is changing this perception, one school at a time!
Through PIA’s innovative approach to performance art, they are unlocking the power of words and making poetry accessible and engaging for students across the country. A big part of PIA’s mission is to bring their fabulous performances to Regional and Outback Australia. Allowing students in remote areas access to what has previously been reserved to metro schools.
The Power of ‘Poetry’ – in Action
Poetry has the unique ability to capture complex emotions, convey deep messages, and tell stories in a succinct and impactful way. Yet, many students find it intimidating or uninteresting. Poetry in Action recognised this challenge and in 2006, co-founders Hazem Shammas and Bryce Youngman (current CEO and Artistic Director) took poetry off the dusty shelves of libraries and brought it to life on the stages of Australian schools. Since its humble beginnings, PIA has grown to be one of Australia’s premier touring theatre companies.
Bryce Youngman – CEO and Artistic Director of Poetry in Action.
Poetry in Action is not just another poetry recitation. It’s a dynamic and interactive performance art that tours schools in Australia and New Zealand. The talented teams of actors (Team Raven and Team Nightingale) bring poetry to life; making it accessible, relatable, and most importantly, enjoyable, captivating students of all ages.
The primary goal of Poetry in Action is to unlock the power of words for everyone. PIA has shown that when young minds understand the beauty and power of language, it can ignite their creative flair enabling them to become better communicators and critical thinkers of tomorrow.
Poetry in Action’s performances are a fusion of drama, poetry, and storytelling. The PIA teams employ humour, emotion, and relatable themes to capture the attention of their young audiences.
In addition to their performances, Poetry in Action conducts interactive workshops where students are encouraged to write and perform their own poetry. This hands-on approach not only fosters creativity but also boosts confidence. This is followed up by the PIA annual Poetry Competition which sees thousands of students submitting their poems throughout the year.
The PIA program is purposefully designed to align with the Australian curriculum, ensuring that it complements the subjects students are learning in school. Schools are also provided with extensive ‘Teachers Packs’ for further development and inclusion in their curriculum.
Teachers across Australia have praised Poetry in Action for its positive impact on students. By connecting with poetry on an emotional level, students gained a deeper understanding of the world around them and the power of words to effect change. Teachers have reported improved literacy skills, enhanced communication abilities, and a newfound passion for creative writing among their students.
Poetry in Action is not just touring schools; it’s touring the hearts and minds of students. By unlocking the power of words through engaging performances and interactive workshops, they are fostering a love for poetry and language that will stay with these students for a lifetime. This initiative is not only revitalising poetry but also empowering the next generation with the invaluable tools of self-expression and communication.
Is Poetry in Action coming to your school in 2024? Visit their website here to find out more about their 2024 program!