Imagine if community divisions could be healed by a group of young people creating a theatre show.

That is what Dave Houston, art director for Melton’s Full-On theatre company, hopes to do through his latest project Raise the heART.

The youth-led project is creating a multi-media theatrical show in response to protests over plans for an Islamic school in Melton and a Melton West mosque that occurred two years ago and the ongoing issues of racism.

In November, 2015, anti-racism protesters clashed with right-wing groups in response to plans for the mosque and Islamic school approved for Victoria University’s Melton campus.

Young people between 12 and 25 years old are being invited to attend Saturday morning workshops at Melton Youth Centre to help create the show, which will be performed in November.

Houston said that

Raise the heART, funded by the state’s community resilience unit and Melton council, aimed to create a powerful theatre experience for audiences with original music and “powerful narratives”.

“It’s about supporting young people at risk to violent extremism – learning to constructively express difficult emotions and complex stories,” he said.

Houston said there would also be a strong focus on learning practical work skills and developing youth leadership skills at the workshops.

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