The g-oz story is one of opportunity, education and engagement. It weaves together the stories of girls and women from across Australia to create a tapestry of connections that will last lifetimes.
Shared dreams of shared knowledge
In 2006, directors of the Australian School of Performing Arts invited some of their key senior team members to join them to discuss their shared dream of delivering high-quality performing arts education to girls who lacked access to these opportunities because of their location or socioeconomic status. Driven by a desire to find ways to improve educational and employment outcomes for girls in remote and regional Australia, they envisioned a not-for-profit organisation that would provide innovative, education-based opportunities through dynamic, interactive performing arts programs. Drawing on more than 30 years of experience through the Australian Girls Choir and the Australian School of Performing Arts, g-oz was founded on the basis of a tried and tested arts engagement model, and the knowledge that effective participation in the performing arts has a multitude of benefits for those who take part.
g-oz takes shape
There was no lack of enthusiasm in those early days, but the shape of our programs was still forming. Our first week-long program was in Chiang Mai in Thailand during which Kylie, our current Program Director, worked with local school children to develop their English language skills using the performing arts. In the same year we undertook a tour of regional Queensland with senior members of the Australian Girls Choir, reaching hundreds of children in performances and workshops, and culminating in a performance for then Governor of Queensland – the Honourable Quentin Bryce.
Building regional relationships
After delivering a number of successful programs between 2007 and 2009 in Australia and overseas, in the years following our focus has centred on Australia’s remote west and north. g-oz first visited Halls Creek and Carnarvon in Western Australia in 2010 and 2013 respectively, and we are proud to continue our relationship with these communities to this day – partnering with Halls Creek District High School and Carnarvon Community College. In 2016 we expanded our programs to include the Far North Queensland community of Lockhart River, and have been fortunate to work with the Puuya Foundation and Lockhart State School in the region. In 2021 we piloted the program in Kowanyama and undertook our first Community Program visits to Kowanyama State School in 2022. Consistent and reliable contact between g-oz program coordinators and g-oz participants is central to our success, and is a point of difference to many other similar programs.
Delivering programs designed to inspire
With a focus on the girls, g-oz programs include week-long visits to each school four times per year. Experienced g-oz instructors deliver high quality performing arts programs to both primary and high school aged students. Girls who have shown strong engagement in these programs and demonstrated regular school attendance may then be invited to participate in a Travel Program to a capital city of Australia, where they have many aspirational educational, social and performance opportunities. For more information about our community and Travel Programs, please see the Programs page.
g-oz uses the performing arts as a hook of engagement, inspiring and motivating girls and young women to regularly attend school and to meaningfully and actively participate in their community. Our vision is to foster a sense of belonging and connectedness between participants and their community; giving students the self-assurance to speak and perform in front of their peers and families and to feel proud of their achievements as empowered, resilient and confident young women. To find out more about why we believe so passionately in what we do, visit g-oz Because.