Bankstown Youth Development Service (BYDS) is an organisation that has helped shape the culture of Bankstown. For over 25 years, BYDS has supported the scores of communities that call Bankstown and its surrounds home, executing over 500 projects across a range of art forms since 1991.

BYDS is defined by its place as a central pillar of the Bankstown community. Its artists, staff, audiences and project participants all come from the local area through an organic process. They are often self-selecting participants who choose to maintain their involvement in BYDS even after the project they have been involved in has officially finished or mutated into another form.

As part of Boundless, BYDS will present a showcase of their project Root and Branch, an ongoing program of poetry, script writing, sci fi and fantasy created with students from Bankstown Public School and Bankstown Girls high. The students work with facilitators Bilal Hafda and Zainab Kadhim to generate the writing with assistance from Sydney Story Factory, who have enabled skilled tutors to back-up all of the young writers. In this session some of the more imaginative works by the students will be performed by students alongside professional actors to create a high quality theatre performance.

Root and Branch is run by Felix Cross, a theatre director, composer and musician with over 30 years experience, who treats the students’ writing with great respect. “The work that these children have produced is equal to or better, more imaginative and radical than much of the professional stage writing I have read and seen performed over the last twenty years,” says Felix. “It is genuinely exciting to bring it to life on stage.”

Root and Branch is just an example of the outcome-focused work BYDS has been doing in Western Sydney for years. Thanks to BYDS young artists in Western Sydney can develop an idea, secure in the knowledge there are resources that they can tap into: a great venue, high quality production equipment and a long history of connecting like-minded people across culture, age and religion.