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February 20, 2015

Urban Myth’s legacy lives on

From the ashes of youth theatre company Urban Myth, a new outlet for Adelaide’s burgeoning young theatre makers has risen in the form of the freshly-founded South Australian Youth Arts Theatre Company.

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  • Words: Johnny Von Einem
  • Pictures: Daniel Marks

When Bec Pannell joined the now defunct Urban Myth Theatre Company last year, there was a sense that the clock was ticking.


#nofilter is showing Friday, March 13 at 6pm, Saturday, March 14 and Sunday, March 15 at 2pm, at Holden Street Theatres. Tickets available here.

Claire Glenn will also be performing in Late Night Story at Ayers House Museum. Tickets and info here.

“I worked at Urban Myth as a general manager in the dying days of the company. When they employed me they knew it was going to be difficult times ahead,” she says.

“I think there was internal hope and they didn’t realise just how dire it was.”

Even with its 33-year history in youth theatre, Urban Myth could not overcome the financial hurdles it was faced with and eventually shut down.

Students and tutors were left uncertain of whether the hard work they’d been putting into their productions would result in anything. And they may not have, if not for the ever-reliable 21st century force of goodwill: crowdfunding.

“We had 46 kids in [Sean Riley’s production of Warren] that had been working for two years developing the script, so we ran a Pozible campaign and raised $9000 for that, which then enabled us to seed this new company, which is SAYarts,” Bec explains.

With a new umbrella to stand beneath, director Claire Glenn and her troupe also brought over other Urban Myth works-in-progress.

“I was actually performing at the Fringe in Edinburgh. As soon as I got back I said ‘look, we don’t know what’s going to happen, do you still want to do the Fringe show?’ and they said ‘yes we do,’ and I said ‘Whatever happens we’ll do it,’” Claire says.

The production, titled #nofilter, is a look into the modern practice of self-portraiture, written by Claire and her crew, all aged between 12 and 15 and is showing as part of the Fringe Festival.

“We were given that topic as a stimulus, really, to create a Fringe show,” Claire says.

“So I just went in on the very first day of term three and I said ‘why do we take selfies?’ and had a bit of a discussion about that. That was just a seed really, and we started playing and telling stories.”

Under SAYarts, the young performers have been able to salvage their work, and will be contributing to Holden Street Theatre’s Fringe programming; continuing the Urban Myth legacy in spirit, if not in name.

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