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Development   /  Charlotte Wheaton

Much Ado about Manor Lakes

A challenged high school divided by race, culture and language is forced to face itself, through art.


Impact areas






  • DIRECTOR Rhian Skirving

  • PRODUCER Nick Batzias



In the Western Melbourne suburb of Manor Lakes over 50% of the population speak a language other than English at home and come from 110 different countries of origins. The new and fast growing community and its high school are divided by race, culture and language. So what happens when you throw a Shakespeare production in the mix? Working with the diverse and dynamic team at Western Edge Theatre company, theatre experts dedicated to working in CALD and disadvantaged communities, we embed ourselves in a school with just one semester to stage a theatre production of a Shakespearean play. Over the course of a school semester, the observational narrative will span the production period through to the final performance capturing the fallout when an already divided community is thrown into the pressure cooker of live theatre.

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0% funded
  • $150,000.00

  • $0.00

  • September 2020

  • 0

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Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

Successive international and domestic studies have found that Arts and Culture-based programs help address issues of disengagement, as well as anti-social, unsafe and potentially criminal behaviour. As a new decade begins it is troubling that funding to these vital programs is being reduced yet further when our most vulnerable and marginalised communities need them most. By implementing cultural and creative activities through Arts, Dance and Music, communities develop a stronger sense of belonging, empathy and inclusion; helping combat the growing issues of loneliness and isolation, rampant in a multicultural Australia. With nearly 50% of Australians feeling that our society is broken and 36% feeling like a stranger in their own country, our connections to each other are more important than ever before. This film will demonstrate the vital importance of Arts programs to reverse negative trends, encouraging social cohesion and fostering our next generation of artists and leaders.


What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

For Arts based programs to be embraced by diverse communities and to be encouraged and and supported by Government and funding bodies to foster social cohesion.

Impact Goals
- The Arts to be seen as a legitimate tool for change
- A shift in stereotypes of CALD communities
- More funding to community and school based Arts projects
- A shift towards more diversity both on and behind camera


What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?

We hope the documentary will inspire other schools and communities to embrace the Arts as a tool to foster social cohesion.
We hope the positive outcomes of Western Edge in a school like Manor Lakes will encourage state governments to fund more Arts projects to a higher level and prioritise it as part of their social impact policy.
If more young people were inspired to pursue a career or even an interest in the Arts this would be a hugely positive outcome.


How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?

Good Thing will bring it's in house Impact team to the project planning the following engagement:

Schools – school screenings, bespoke downloadable lesson resources, group cinema/ event bookings,

- Communities - event based screenings with one-of performances, a diversity of hosts and settings, local action groups established

- Investors – individual screenings, high-level engagement activities, increased investment in Arts projects/ initiatives

- Government - council, parliamentary and departmental screenings,


How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?

We are currently at the development stage but have secured the support of both Manor Lakes College and Western Edge Youth Arts. In our next phase we plan to establish relationships with community liaisons pertinent to the student cohort who sign up to the program as well as private investors active supporting the Arts.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?

We hope viewers will be more understanding of the complexities of CALD communities in Australia, helping to destigmatize beliefs around immigrant and refugee populations.
We hope the film can act as a catalyst for change in attitudes around the Arts encouraging people support schools and communities through greater attendance.
We want viewers to campaign there local govern not to not only protect but expand the Arts funding.

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

When Australian TV and Cinema reflects the richness and diversity of our population telling the stories of all Australians, not just the few.