Towards the end of April, this year’s sixteen Young Critics met for the first time. They had the usual three days of viewing exciting theatre while participating in workshops and having a fair amount of craic in Dublin town.
As the summer months approach, we are piloting some new and exciting angles to the Young Critics Programme that, with the support of the youth theatres along with their local venues and arts centres, can expand the Young Critics programme beyond those lucky sixteen.
Through a partnership approach we would hope to involve more young people in their local communities, develop stronger relationships between venues and youth theatres and help to build and sustain local audiences for theatre in that community.
Over the summer months we are asking the Young Critics to become programmers and select one professional production that they feel they and their fellow youth theatre members might enjoy. With the support of their youth theatre leader they will then organize a theatre trip to a professional production in their local Arts Centre or venue.
The Young Critics will then do a short video blog on the piece they saw and submit it to NAYD. From here, four of them will be invited to write reviews for the Young Critics Blog.
The benefits are huge for all involved. The venues will be building new audiences and all the young people will get to see even more quality theatre then they normally would. This should encourage them to go and see more theatre than before and broaden their love and knowledge of the art form. Once the spark is ignited they will choose to go to more and more performances over the coming years and this will have a very positive influence on how they make their own theatre.
This is a really exciting departure for the programme and one that we would hope to develop and establish over the coming years.