Spotlight | Grace Sankey, Scope Theatre Festival

activating the talent of young locals

Grace Sankey Scope Theatre Festival

grace sankey launched Scope Theatre Festival in 2018.

The now-annual youth theatre festival inspires young people to share their stories and develop their craft from the comfort of their own community. The show — held in the Empire Theatre — includes 10 short shows, all of which have been written, directed and performed local creatives.

We sat down with the festival producer to hear about her ideal weekend, studying her dream course at USQ and learning as you go.

Scope Theatre Festival Grace Sankey
Scope Theatre Festival Grace Sankey
Scope Theatre Festival Grace Sankey

Name: grace sankey
Occupation: scope theatre festival producer & freelance theatre artist
Known For: activating our very clever young people through the arts
Born: dalby
Local since: 2016

Have you always lived in Toowoomba?

I spent my whole life in Dalby until moving at 17 to Toowoomba to study at the University of Southern Queensland. I was nervous to transition straight from small town life to living in a massive city like Brisbane, and Toowoomba was a perfect middle area for me – plus my dream degree was offered here!

What is the Scope Theatre Festival?

Scope Theatre Festival is an annual youth theatre festival (now onto its second year), which I inaugurated to inspire more young people to share their stories and develop their craft from the comfort of their own community. This year there will be ten short shows performed, all of which have been written, directed and performed by a total of 31 young creatives. I spend a lot of time doing admin work and marketing, but love the opportunities when I get to step in the rehearsal room with the artists, read their original works and especially the thrill of when it all comes together at the final performance. 

What have you learned about running a business in Toowoomba?

There are a lot of extremely talented and unique young people living in the Toowoomba region, with some incredible stories to share. The whole reason I can even do what I do is because of these young people and their passion to create and tell stories. I think the Scope model works perfectly in Toowoomba mostly because of these people, and how hungry they are for opportunities. I am definitely still learning a lot as I go. I never saw myself as a producer until I came up with this project, so now I’m just steering my way through the waters. I’m mostly just lucky to have such a strong network of people who are willing to help guide and teach me on the way. 

What does an average day look like for you?

Gosh what even is an average day?! Some days can consist of going out for breakfast with my partner (or my laptop so I can answer emails), followed by a shift at my retail day job, then maybe teaching a drama workshop or doing a voiceover session before popping in to a rehearsal, and finally wrapped up by working on Scope’s social media over dinner.

Other days I like to find the sunniest spot in my house, persuade my cat to lay down with me, grab my laptop and just finalise all of the things in need of finalising (I love crossing things off my to do list). I do also like to try to fit in some creative writing of my own and a little bit of ridiculous reality TV when time permits. 

What does your ideal Toowoomba weekend look like?

Bubble tea and burgers or fruit salad and croissants at the park is always my favourite way to spend the weekend.

My partner and I definitely love getting outside to eat, and nap, in the afternoon sun. The Botanical and Japanese Gardens are my favourites. Also I know people usually choose to forget about work on the weekends, but for me it’s always a prime time to sit down and do some design work or if I’m lucky, head to some rehearsals. 

Only a Toowoomba local would know…

Always pack a jumper!


PERK UP: Milk & Honey or  Sweet Talk Cafe

RELAX: the Japanese Gardens

EAT: somewhere in the Walton Stores

INDULGE: getting not only dinner from Walton Stores… but also dessert!

SHOP: I always love to stop into the local op shops. I’ve found some incredible vintage pieces here in Toowoomba! The local markets are another favourite.

CATCH UP: Sushi Machi! My favourite place to talk for ages with friends (and eat too much).

BE INSPIRED: Catching a show at the Empire Theatre or USQ Artsworx. Lots of young artists always presenting interesting works to be inspired by.

Book your tickets to the Scope Theatre Festival here!


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