St Martins is one of Australia’s leading companies working collaboratively with young people aged 5 – 18 to create bold, disruptive, contemporary theatre for adult audiences.
We place children and teens in the rehearsal room with professional practising artists with surprising results.
Our productions and workshops ensure that young people are equal owners of the creative process and are recognised as artists in their own right.
We acknowledge that many young people face barriers to participating in the arts and we strive for inclusivity across all our programs.
St Martins is an incubator of creativity and a stomping ground for young and emerging artists, across the three investment pillars of our company:
Escape Velocity Phase 1 by Jeremy Angerson
“I’m blown away by the complexity and sophistication of responses when I ask a question or set up a provocation in a workshop. I see real and raw performances in these creative rooms that excite and move me. I laugh a lot – with astonishment, recognition, and awe!”
– Nadja Kostich, Artistic Director/CEO
St Martins has a long and respected history as an arts organisation working with children and young people since 1980, and as a theatrical institution stretching back to the 1930s with the establishment of the Melbourne Little Theatre in 1934.
Irene Mitchell was their first leading lady and soon became a driving force of the company, eventually becoming Artistic Director, overseeing the opening of the newly built theatre complex on St Martins Lane in 1956, renamed St Martins in 1962.
In its time the Melbourne Little Theatre was renowned for its contemporary productions. With a strong subscriber base and Mitchell at the helm, St Martins flourished, supporting the careers of George Fairfax, John Truscott, Frank Thring, Zoe Caldwell, Pamela Stephenson and many others.
By the mid-70s the theatre was needing revitalisation. The buildings were sold to the Victorian State Government, renovated and reopened as St Martins Youth Arts Centre. Since then, it has provided valuable opportunities to young artists, and supported the careers of many greats; Julia Blake, Ben Mendelsohn, Noah Taylor, Barrie Kosky, Catherine McClements, Paul Jackson, Simon Stone, Gina Riley and Jane Turner.
In 2020, to celebrate our 40th birthday, we caught up with some of our alumni to get their reflections on St Martins. Head to 40:40 to see what they said.
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St Martins gratefully acknowledges the support of Creative Victoria, Creative Australia, Creative Partnerships Australia, Vic Health, City of Stonnington, City of Yarra, City of Greater Dandenong, City of Darebin, Gailey Lazarus Foundation, Betty Amsden Foundation, William Angliss Charitable Trust, Artists For Kids Culture, Besen Family Foundation, Angior Family Foundation and Robert Salzer Foundation.
We acknowledge the barriers to the arts that exist for many young people because of disability, cultural difference or social disadvantage and we offer scholarships and programs to overcome these barriers.