Opportunity is knocking

Can you hear it?

The northern suburbs of Adelaide have long lacked opportunities for young people to be exposed and trained in the practice of theatrical Arts. True North Youth Theatre Ensemble is a youth theatre ensemble that engages youth people aged 8 -17. It is led by award winning Artistic Director Alirio Zavarce.  At True North we teach theatre skills by making theatre.  Under the magical direction of Alirio all groups have a performance outcomes each year along with other opportunities for the presentation of new work.

There is an identifiable need for a hub in the northern area that young people interested in the Arts can express themselves and find a sense of belonging. Our group provides youth interested in the arts an afford- able, social, collaborative and safe place in which they will be able to express themselves in order to teach performance skills and practices. It aims to breakdown cultural barriers, promote self-esteem, confidence and provide high level tuition.

We have three groups – in Hillcrest, Klemzig and an Anglicare C4C City of Playford Scholarship Program in Elizabeth.  The weekly workshops take many forms the participants are guided through a series of activities that include writing, short films, movement, composition, physical theatre and historical or personal exploration.

The creation of theatre equip the participants to use their creativity, talents and skills in the creation of art. This generates a positive activity and outcomes for both the individual and the group. In an area in which there are not many alternatives for young people we give youth the possibility to engage in a positive activity rather that the current vacuum in which our youth who may engage in idleness or not positive activities. We are offering an alternative that is positive for the participants, the community, the local area and South Australia.

Access to the development of creativity and the development of young people through art is of paramount importance to the community. It is not only a human right but a need in our community to help our young people develop their skills, confidence and their artistic potential.

2017 Adelaide Critics Circle Independent Arts Foundation Award Winners

2017 award winners independant arts foundation award for innovation

2016 Ruby Awards Winners

What the critics are saying

  • Bank SA Talk Fringe

    Alirio Zavarce has done it again. This talented Director seems to have a knack of pulling together a group of people, offering them safe haven to explore their world and then asks them share it with an audience. Bravo Alirio, bring on the next production because I’ll be there ready, sitting in the front row with my hanky.

    Giselle R TalkFringe
  • The Advertiser Newspaper

    This show is more than just theatre…This show has soul.

    The Advertiser
  • Adelaide Theatre Guide

    Director Alirio Zavarce dreamed of using theatre making as a teaching tool and that’s exactly what he’s accomplished. Within a year, Adelaide’s newest youth theatre company has created young artists who write the script, compose songs, create puppetry and bring it all together in their first show which tackles that big question: what makes a sense of home?

    Kylie Pedler Adelaide Theatre Guide
  • In Daily

    This ensemble tugs on the heartstrings with its insightful and diverse descriptions of home. If “memories are what makes a home”, then it stands to reason that A Sense of Home will leave an indelible memory in your heart.

    Patricia Herreen In Daily
  • Glam Adelaide

    Stories of climbing trees, telling ghosts stories and moving overseas into extraordinary works of theatrical art. A Sense of Home will no doubt bring you back to a world of childish innocence and fun and will, of course, make you go “Awww” a good few times!

    James Rudd GlamAdelaide
  • The Advertiser Newspaper

    The actors manipulate words and images in view of the audience. This is a sweet and honest show that offers gentle insights into the thoughts and attitudes of young people, and leaves you with a good feeling…the children in the audience especially loved it.

    Louise Nunn The Advertiser
  • Arts Hub

    Access to the development of creativity and the development of young people through art is of paramount importance to the community. It is not only a human right but a need in our community to help our young people develop their skills, confidence and their artistic potential.

    Arts Hub
  • The Australian Newspaper

    A Kid Like Me, presented by the 12-member True North Youth Theatre and directed by Alirio Zavarce (Parks Theatre, May 20), invites audiences to identify and respond to common issues for young people. With a repertoire of nine plays to choose from, the audience uses electronic voting devices to select themes such as social anxiety, peer pressure, bullying, “sexyfication” and the future. Expertly managed by Zavarce and writer Sally Hardy, with thrifty design by Kathryn Sproul, A Kid Like Me is a version of Augusto Boal’s Forum Theatre at its enjoyable best: vividly presenting life situations and giving young people a chance to interact and register their opinions.

    Murray Bramwell The Australian
  • Quote symbol

    Congratulations on an outstanding production today. I enjoyed the work on so many levels. It was wonderful to see the youth ensemble so present in their bodies, ideas, characters, and storytelling. I appreciated the innovative staging and creative use of props (chairs as weight!), and the strong design elements of sound, video, and lighting. Most of all it was fun to be amongst the young people. It was terrific to hear the "this is so cool"; "What do you think?" "Pick green, Pick green" interaction from the students sitting around us.

    Katie Dawson University professor and US arts integration specialist

Meet the Team


Alirio Zavarce

Actor | Artistic Director
Writer | Musician

Alirio is a multi-award-winning director and theatre maker who has created numerous projects with companies across Australia.

Alirio was born in Caracas, Venezuela and migrated to Australia in 1992. In 2000 Alirio graduated from the Flinders University Drama Centre. Over the last 17 years

Alirio has numerous performance credits with many theatre companies across including  STCSA, Sydney Theatre Company and The Malthouse.  For Windmill Alirio has performed the roles of The Wizard in The Wizard of Oz, The Cat in Boom Bah! Geppetto  in Pinocchio and  And the Rat in Rumplestiltskin.

Alirio is the Artistic Director of ‘AJZ Productions’, ‘True North Youth Theatre Ensemble’ and ‘No Strings Attached Theatre of Disability’

Alirio is a founding member of the Border Project and has performed and co-created in all of its productions.

For No Strings Attached Theatre of Disability Alirio has directed, written and performed:  ‘Trapped’ – Winner of the 2011 Fringe Graham Smith Peace Trust Award and ‘Sons & Mothers’ – Winner of the 2012 Fringe Best Theatre Production, Adelaide Festival Centre inSPACE development Award and The Adelaide Critics Circle Best in Fringe Award.  In 2013 Alirio wrote and performed “The Book of Loco”– Winner of the 2013 Fringe Best Theatre Production, Adelaide Festival Centre inSPACE Development Award and wrote & directed ‘The Migration Project’ which was presented as part of Come Out Festival 2013.

In 2014, 2015  Alirio produced and directed Live From Channel 9 Studios the interdisciplinary venue at the Adelaide Fringe.   Where he created and performed “The Chapel of Love”, “The Bureau of Complaints” and directed the debut performance of True North Youth Theatre Ensemble “A Sense of Home” which won the Peace Foundation Award 2014. He performed the role of Geppetto in Windmill’s “Pinocchio” at the Opera House and reprised the role at The New Victory Theatre in New York in March 2015. Alirio Directed ‘A Kid Like Me’ which was presented as part of the Come Out Festival for Children in May 2015 and  represented Australia in the Worlds Festival for Children’s Theatre in Canada 2016 and from Directing “The Lie You Have Been Sold” with Conspire Theatre in Austin, Texas. Alirio is currently developing “EBully” and “The Tower of Babel”

Juliette Zavarce

Producer &
Company Manager

Juliette’s background is in business and event management. She has a successful career in the business and sales arena. She has earned 4 national sales awards throughout her career. She successfully ran her own event management business namely JFEM from 2006 – 2008. She formed AJZ Productions in collaboration with Alirio Zavarce in 2013 and acts as Producer and Company Manager. She recently produced the highly successful The Migration Project. This project involved 2 schools, had 5 presenting partners, over 7 sponsors and toured to 2 venues. Juliette’s ethos is to continue to create partnerships between Arts and non-Arts organisations. In the 2014 Adelaide Fringe Festival Juliette produced Live From 9 at the Channel 9 studios where 16 acts were presented over 5 weeks.  In addition she produced A Sense of Home and Humphrey Honey and Imagination and Race Around the Block.

Matt Crook


Matt is known for disappearing into roles and injecting believable characters with ‘transformational soul’. Matt’s recent film and television credits include Marcus, an adolescent cult member with a dark past (AFI winner). Nick Matthew’s upcoming debut feature One Eyed Girl; and Johansson a quirky young South African soldier captured by Japanese forces in the SBS comedy seriesDanger 5. Recent theatre credits include The State Theatre Company of South Australia’s productions of Babyteeth; playing Moses, a kind-hearted junkie. Matt is also a talented voice-over artist with work in film, television and radio. Critic Peter Maddern has stated, “Matt Crook needs to be added to any future stars watch list you may be compiling.”

tyson olson portrait

Tyson Olson

Tutor | Composer | Dancer

Tyson is a recent graduate dancer of Adelaide College of the Arts with experiences as a choreographer, dancer, musician, and composer. He currently works for True North Youth Theatre Company under the direction of Alirio Zavarce (AJZ Productions) as a composer and choreographer involved in the creation of A Sense of Home (2014, winner of Peace Foundation Award), A Kid Like Me (2015, Come Out Festival), My Life…In A Nutshell (2015) and Imagination (2015). He was involved in State Opera of South Australia’s productions of Faust (2015) and dancer in Satyagraha (2014) which was part of the Phillip Glass Trilogy choreographed and directed by Leigh Warren. He was recently a dancer in Morphing into Flowers (2015) a work by independent choreographer Alexandra Knox performed at Australian Dance Theatre’s ‘Rough Draft’, and is currently involved in the development of a new work Epimetheus Forgets to be performed at the 2016 Adelaide Fringe Festival. During his studies at AC Arts, Tyson has worked with Jo Stone, Gabrielle Nankivell, Lee Brummer, Daniel Jaber, Peter Sheedy, Scott Ewen, and Leigh Warren. Tyson’s credits as an independent choreographer include Müll (2014), we: at a junction (2015) – a movement piece in response to Bill Viola’s The Crossing commissioned by the Art Gallery of South Australia, and personwhowatchestoomuchtelevision (2015).

Lisa Headshot

Lisa Lukacs


Lisa Lukacs has spent her life exploring the arts in all aspects, including performance, painting, music, film and dance. She is an accomplished pianist, selling artist and teacher of performing arts.  Her working life has been spent encouraging children to take part in creative pursuits at companies including Theatre Bugs, Life. Be in it and Free Range Theatrix.In 2012 she graduated from the University of South Australia with a Bachelor of Media Arts, majoring in Film and Television Production and sub majoring in Drama. In addition to this she has worked with theatre company Free Range Theatrix on numerous productions both on and off stage and also assists in their preschool programs. This includes being an actor and production manager for the 2013 Adelaide Fringe Production of ‘Hip Hop Hook and the Fairy Dust Fiasco’.She also began her Speech and Drama training through the AMEB in 2014 winning the 2015 Certificate in Drama and Performance Prize for South Australia and the Northern Territory. She hopes to complete her Advanced Diploma by mid-2016. 2015 also Lisa accepted into the Adelaide Festival Centre’s GreenRoom Advocacy Program, which has allowed her to gain experience working on the Come Out Children’s Festival, Cabaret Festival and be a part of their CentreED program.

Mitre Khammash

Music Composition | Film Maker | Tutor 

Mitre Khammash is a 2014 Film and Television Graduate from Adelaide College of the Arts, and a Performer, Singer, Musician, Theatre and Film Creative. Growing up in the Arts, Mitre has since established  Mitre Khammash Media, An emerging production company that creates new works for the stage and screen, as well as creative services. Such as Filming, Editing, Cinema Sound Design and Assorted Film & Theatre Production Roles. In 2015,  Mitre Wrote, Produced and Directed Counting Bars: The tale of the Singing Inmates, an A Acapella Juke box musical that had a Sold Out Season in the 2015 Adelaide Fringe, Which has since toured to regional SA in 2016.

Cassie Litchfield

Performer | Teacher 

Since completing a Bachelor Creative Arts (Drama) (Honours) at the Flinders Drama Centre in 2015, Cassie has enjoyed working as a screen actor and voice over artist. Cassie made her Fringe debut in the 2016 Adelaide Fringe and is looking forward to returning in 2017 with her first solo development, ‘Hello… It’s me’. A recent highlight for Cassie has been collaborating with No Strings Attached Theatre of Disability and True North Theatre Ensemble, where her skills as a performer and teacher have been utilized.

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