Children of the Black Skirt – A Case Study

Applicant: Ink Pot Arts Inc.
Project Name: Children of the Black Skirt
Grant Type: Creation/Performance of artistic work
Grant Detail: $12,000 – Regional Arts Fund Step Out

“Ink Pot Arts has a passion for telling stories that have meaning for our community…”

Jo-anne Sarre – Artistic Director, Ink Pot Arts


In 2012, at the annual Regional Arts Conference in Goolwa, Ink Pot Arts Artistic Director Jo-anne Sarre was involved in some dynamic conversations where issues of accessibility to culture and regional communities were discussed.  To coincide with the Mt Barker 175th Town Celebrations and the topical theme of children in institutions, Jo-anne, together with Playwright Angela Betzien and the Ink Pot Arts team, worked towards making the concept of local performances and a regional tour of Betzien’s haunting work, Children of The Black Skirt, become a successful reality. With this adapted production, they hoped to illuminate local history and share stories that they believe, need to be told.


The Ink Pot Arts Youth Ensemble encompassed young performers aged between 12 and 16 years. They began rehearsals in January 2014 and worked towards two public performances in August 2014. The production then toured to two schools in the Fleurieu region as well as public performances in Goolwa and Mt Barker, as part of the Adelaide Fringe 2015. The Step Out grant also allowed Angela Betzien to deliver valuable writing workshops to the young performers and writing masterclasses to interested community members. Mentor opportunities were provided throughout the project to Black Skirt Director, David Hirst and Project Manager, Phi Theodorous; both emerging artists.


Through fundraising efforts, workshop fees and the support of Country Arts SA, through the Regional Arts Fund Step Out Grant Program, Ink Pot Arts were able to achieve valuable goals; developing the skills of their youth ensemble as theatre practitioners and story tellers, broadening the reach of Ink Pot Arts further into the regions and building cultural networks and partnerships within their community. Exciting new relationships between Ink Pot and the Adelaide Hills and Alexandrina Councils were also formed. A highlight of the project was the relationship created between the regional school students, who witnessed their peers artfully perform this high quality production, and the Ink Pot Arts Youth Ensemble. The Children of The Black Skirt regional tour especially, was acknowledged by all involved as an invaluable and exciting source of Arts Engagement for young people in the regions.

Find out more about Ink Pot Arts Inc. at