Our History

Carclew House ceased to be a private home in 1965 and was purchased by the Adelaide City Council with assistance from the State Government. Plans to build a large festival hall on this site were scrapped in favour of the Adelaide Festival Centre. In 1971 Don Dunstan, Premier of South Australia, announced that Carclew House would become a centre for creative activities by or for young people under the name South Australian Performing Arts Centre for Young People, which was incorporated in 1972.

In 1976, a Board of Management was appointed, headed by Mrs Ruby Litchfield and including Mrs Margaret (Marjorie) Fitz-Gerald, current patron of Carclew. Funds were made available to employ a full time management team, who were charged with developing a centre that would be a place for multi-arts activity for young people up to the age of 17 years, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

To reflect this role, the name of Carclew Youth Arts Centre was adopted by the organisation. For the next few years the Centre provided learning programs in the arts with a staff of artist-tutors. Courses were run for school students of all ages, and recreational programs were offered during holidays, on weekends and after school.

After several years of rapid developments in youth performing arts activity in South Australia, the State government initiated an enquiry into youth performing arts, which looked carefully at existing services and activity. The report concluded that Carclew Youth Arts Centre should become the focal point for youth performing arts in South Australia; a creative administrative hub of resources, projects, policy and support. The Youth Performing Arts Council was established in 1980 to oversee the development and management of Carclew Youth Arts Centre.

The new Carclew Youth Performing Arts Centre was opened in 1982 by Minister of Arts, Murray Hill, as Australia’s major centre for youth arts.

In May 1988 the State Government created a Review Committee to assess the role of the Youth Performing Arts Council. This Committee strongly identified the need for a single body to develop and coordinate youth arts policy and programs for children and young people aged up to 25 years and recommended the setting up of a new body. The South Australian Youth Arts Board (SAYAB) was formed in November 1988 as the governing body of Carclew.

Subsequently, the Board revised its programs to support children and young people 26 years and under.

Since 1982, Carclew’s activities have expanded to cover a broad spectrum of youth arts, engaging thousands of children and young people across South Australia though a unique model encompassing funding, advocacy and strategic initiatives.

In March 1991 the name officially changed from Carclew Youth Performing Arts Centre Inc. to Carclew Youth Arts Centre Inc. to reflect the broader nature of youth arts practices. In 2009 the organisation changed its name to Carclew Youth Arts and in 2013 to simply Carclew.

In the same year, SAYAB revised its objectives and assessed its identity in relation to Carclew. To provide much needed clarity around Carclew’s structure, governance and deliverables, the Board changed its name to the Carclew Youth Arts Board in December 2009 and Carclew in 2013.

Carclew’s commitment to policy development, financial support and the promotion of access, diversity and excellence in youth arts remains unchanged.