A passion for the creative arts, which started when she was just three years old performing on stage in various productions and eisteddfods, led Leigh Boswell on a life-long journey of studying, teaching and helping others find their creative pathways.
The founder and general manager of The Young Company (TYC), which is celebrating its 10th birthday this year, has a wealth of knowledge and experience in the industry. After completing a Bachelor of Arts (Drama) and a Bachelor of Education (Secondary) at the Queensland University of Technology, where she graduated with honours, she continued to study a postgraduate degree in Creative Industries (Arts and Cultural Management).
She has worked for numerous organisations including Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Brisbane Powerhouse, Metro Arts, to name just a few, and recently participated in the Australia Council for the Arts Leadership Program.
“I grew up in Cairns, and I had to travel down south to get my degrees,” the mother of two said. “I started The Young Company to allow young people in Cairns and Far North Queensland the opportunity to channel their creativity and allow their creativity to flourish.”
Since TYC was established in 2009 with just seven students, it has grown to become an award-winning and nationally-recognised professional youth theatre company and currently has 400 students who are taught by a team of 15.
The theatre company is for young people aged from age three to 20. Students learn all aspects of production including screen writing, film and television, stage production, pantomime, costume design and performing on stage.
“Many of our students have grown up with us,” Leigh said. “Some have gone on to pursuit a creative career in the arts leading them into future employment, while some students are employed with us.”
TYC holds in-school and out-of-school classes and showcases the young talent at the end of each school semester, during school holiday programs and perming at various community events such as the Cairns Children’s Festival, National Youth Week and the Cairns Festival.
The not-for-profit organisation works in partnership with community service organisations, the education sector, all levels of government, arts organisations and the private sector and is self-funded through its various programs and performances.
Research has shown that performing arts is a huge benefit to the development and wellbeing of children. It builds confidence, improves their listening and communication skills, improves their memory, sparks their imagination and teaches cooperation – all valuable skills that they will use throughout their lives.
“Our mission is to spark the imagination and fuel a sense of discovery in children and young people,” Leigh said. “We create exceptional theatre experiences that educate, engage, challenge and inspire children, young people and their communities.”
For more information on the TYC, visit www.theyoungcompany.com.au or phone 4041 4066.