A New Home, New Director and New Storyteller-in-Chief for SSF Parramatta
We're surging ahead with our plans for expanding in Western Sydney and opening a second creative writing centre in Parramatta. And we're ticking off the milestones to get there.
Sydney Story Factory Parramatta has it's own director - Nikola Amanovic.
Nick has experience and education in performing arts, community development and business. He completed a Graduate Diploma in Dramatic Art (Directing) at Nida, and worked in theatre for a few years.
In 2011, search for meaning took him to the war-torn Province of Kosovo, where he worked with a local development organisation. He spent the last three years leading social change initiatives across Western Sydney. Nikola is really excited about joining the Sydney Story Factory team, as it enables him to combine his love for storytelling and work with diverse communities.
“For me, the most exciting thing about our expansion to Western Sydney is that thousands of kids who don’t have access to meaningful arts programs will now be able to participate in workshops we deliver in their schools, local community organisations or at our new centre in Parramatta. Not only will they be able to improve their writing skills and confidence, but through our publications, performances and media work, Western Sydney kids will be given a voice and allowed to take part in the wider cultural and social dialogue - proving that our diverse neighbourhood is a microcosm of the world!”
Sydney Story Factory Parramatta also has it's own Storyteller-in-chief - Bilal Hafda.
Bilal is a high school English teacher with a passion for spoken-word poetry. Alongside running poetry and creative writing workshops in schools, he is involved in the RESPECT program, a series of Creative Arts Domestic Violence workshops that run with upper-primary students who have been flagged as potentially 'at risk' of having witnessed domestic violence at home, or have shown a tendency towards violence themselves. He is also a member of the Bankstown Poetry Slam and is constantly looking to facilitate and nurture the voice of the participants of the slams and audiences who attend them.
"The job lets me design and deliver the programs I needed growing up in Western Sydney. My background and my circumstances did not decide the person that I would become, and now I get to show that, and prove that, to young people in Western Sydney through art, through storytelling, and through listening, sincerely, to what these communities need, and what we can do to help."
And... Sydney Story Factory Parramatta also has it's very own home at 88 George St, minutes from the station and right in the heart of the city.
As you can see, it's obviously a building with many, many stories to tell. Built in the late 1830s, it was, in the 1840s and 50s, the family home of Count Lucien de Broel Plater. A wealthy nobleman who had served in the army, the Count fled Poland after helping to lead an uprising against the Russians. In this house in Parramatta he lived with his 10 sons and daughters, and opened a confectionary shop. Or so the story goes.
We are currently working with Berents Project Management, LAVA Architects and The Glue Society to come up with a design that will make it even more exciting. More on that soon. We may even tell you about the secret tunnel beneath the building....
We have raised an amazing 70% of the funds we need to fit-out our new digs and run our first full year of programs, but with a total target of $2.4M we still have a way to go. You can help us get there.
Already 30% of our students are from Western Sydney. To lay the groundwork for our expansion we're running three Foundation Programs this year - Creative Residencies, Unmapping and Photo Faction. They're all going brilliantly. We're also running more and more new programs with some amazing new partners in Liverpool, Blacktown, Canterbury and so many more. We're lighting the spark of creativity for more and more and more Western Sydney young people every term.
Just imagine what will happen when we open Sydney Story Factory Parramatta in May next year. The sky's the limit!