Celebrating International Women’s Day – Maud Clark, Somebody’s Daughter Theatre Company

Maud Clark - Somebody's Daughter Theatre Co - February 2024

The Geelong Community Foundation is proud to highlight some of the incredible women working in the for purpose sector in our community, in the lead-up to International Women’s Day on March 8.

Somebody’s Daughter Theatre (SDT) is a company of artists whose mission is to work with those who are the most marginalised in our community, empower them and give them a voice.

CEO and Artistic Director Maud Clark has been in this role for over 20 years, and through SDT the two core areas of her work are with women in prison, and Nobody’s Fool Theatre (NFT) in Geelong.

“SDT artists conduct a weekly program of theatre and visual arts workshops with women at three prisons, and the intensive program culminates in the annual presentation of a new theatre work and exhibition,” said Maud.

“NFT is an education program for marginalised young people in Geelong who are ‘school refusers’ or who cannot cope in mainstream school. Most come from situations of poverty, violence, abuse, discrimination and transience and many have mental health issues.”

The program offers participants a safe and inclusive learning environment where they work toward Victorian Curriculum outcomes in the Arts, English and Mathematics, and also culminates in an annual production which also tours.

“We are attempting to bring down the walls of difference and indifference through the arts,” said Maud.
“We will work with the most marginalised, create high quality productions, which will inspire, provoke and challenge people and perceptions.”

Maud explains that there is no one story to sum up the work of SDT but that the absolute magic of production is always a gift.

“There are the hours and days and months of working with a group that begins with so little confidence, no voice, thinking they can’t sing, they dare not speak up never dreaming that they would ever perform,” she said.

“To witness over the weeks, the drama workshops, the group coming to the circle, the games, the improvisations, the sharing of stories and suddenly there is a script evolving. The young people who could barely get out of their bedroom are now the carriers of the story.”

When asked about the future of the organisation, Maud says her hope is that Nobody’s Fool Theatre continues to flourish and can continue to provide a pathway to a world full of possibility and aspiration.

“It is my hope that the wider Geelong community could provide more practical support for young people, transport, housing and education, and also that one day there is a more equitable education system,” she said.

When asked what International Women’s Day means, Maud says it is a time to celebrate women everywhere.

“Those that have been, and are, public figures, those that have kept the home fires burning and provided the base for others to soar,” she said.

“It is also a time to remember those women who have supported, guided, inspired and worked with me, past and present. Without the support, guidance, friendship and collaboration, there would be no Somebody’s Daughter Theatre.”

When asked about any advice for other women in the for purpose sector, Maud reminded us that this type of work is never about the money.

“For all at Somebody’s Daughter Theatre, we love the work we do and know that it has real impact on both a personal and systemic level. We witness absolute transformations in individual possibilities for future life paths,” she said.

“Don’t ever lose sight of why you have chosen the work you do.”

Follow us