Milk Crate Theatre winner of the Macquarie Group's Australian Social Innovation Award
7 December 2012
Milk Crate Theatre were announced the winners of the Macquarie Group Foundation Australian Social Innovation Award for its contributions through theatre to the homeless communities of Sydney.
Milk Crate Theatre is a not-for-profit theatre company that was established in June 2000 to connect the homeless community to the arts as a means of addressing mental health issues.
The Award recognises and rewards Milk Crate Theatre's community shows program as addressing an unmet community need in Australia. The community shows are Australia's only ongoing theatre program devised by the homeless community for the homeless community. They seek to start a conversation about the complex issues of homelessness as well as provide social outcomes from the individuals creating and engaging with the process.
An Ensemble of people who have experienced homelessness and/or social marginalisation write, act and stage manage in the shows, as well as interact with the show as a participating audience. These shows offer a safe space to have fun and be creative but to also share stories of the homeless experience and advocate for systemic change.
Milk Crate Theatre will receive $100,000 over the next two years to promote the organisation's activities and fund its theatre rehearsal programs.
According to Siena Balakrishnan, General Manager of Milk Crate Theatre, Macquarie's Australian Social Innovation Award will not only provide for greater flexibility and accessibility to the program but also help to increase audience engagement, which is vital to learning about the complex issues associated with homelessness and social marginalisation.
Richard Sheppard, Chairman of the Macquarie Group Foundation Board, said: "On behalf of the board and our judges, we are very proud of the high calibre of submissions received this year and I would like to commend all the organisations and individuals who participated." "I personally congratulate Milk Crate Theatre for their commitment to continuing to develop innovative programs that address social needs and long-term community problems."
The first community show will be performed in May 2013.