The partnership between Penrith Performing & Visual Arts and Celestino goes from strength to strength, continuing to enable students from economically disadvantaged areas to experience world quality theatrical experiences at their local performing arts centre.

CEO John Vassallo, a long-time supporter of visionary projects, said “there’s an enormous social value in showing children they can imagine the unimaginable. In order to boost literacy and create well-rounded confident, curious and creative minds kids need the opportunity to be involved in live theatre.”

During August and September 2017 Celestino’s sponsorship will provide the opportunity for over 400 children to see two outstanding upcoming theatrical productions - Saltbush and The Arrival - as part of The Joan’s Term Three Schools Program.

Saltbush is an exquisite interactive journey through the culture and landscape of Aboriginal Australia, celebrated with live dance, music, song and stories. Children are invited to explore, play and dance with the performers as the landscape unfolds around them, providing a unique immersive experience.

The Arrival, adapted from Shaun Tan’s multi-award winning book, is a fusion of Tan’s beautiful and surreal illustrations with exquisite puppetry, haunting music and fine acting. The absence of words plays beautifully for puppetry while also emphasising the isolation experienced by many people arriving in a new place.

Students from Kingswood Park Public school were excited to take their shoes of and participate in the interactive production of Saltbush. Their principal Ms Berwick said

“At Kingswood Park Public School we always look for opportunities to embrace the arts and provide our students with different cultural experiences. As a small school of 150 students, we were very thrilled to be the recipients of subsidised tickets from Celestino.  This provided a fantastic chance for over half our school population to be part of Saltbush and engage in live theatre, right at their own door step at The Joan. With our school represented by 40 percent aboriginal population it was also a chance for children to connect with their own culture in a meaningful and positive way.  Our students had a wonderful time and we thank you.”

Celestino’s partnership with Penrith Performing & Visual Arts also contributes toward music ensembles, activation of spaces such as The Joan’s Borland Lounge for Friday Night Lights, cross-art form projects with Penrith Regional Gallery & The Lewers Bequest, such as the Gravity Geeks Art & Science Symposium, and The Joan’s Kids & Families season.

As well as providing transformational creative experiences for students, this support also enables PP&VA to keep programming the highest quality performances which foster an ongoing love of the arts in young audiences. And just for fun, students attending these shows will take away a special Celestino-sponsored show bag to remind them of their experience and encourage ongoing creativity!