NAYD’s Young Critics 2016 – Applications Are Now Open

NAYD’s Young Critics 2016 - Applications Are Now Open

‘An amazing, life changing experience…Words cannot describe how amazing of a programme young critics is.’ Young Critic 2015


Returning for a thirteenth year, The Young Critics is one of NAYD’s most popular programmes.

It is open to NAYD affiliated youth theatre members who are interested in watching theatre, discovering how and why theatre is made, and learning how to critically discuss, analyse, and review theatre.

Over a six-month period they will see some incredible shows, make new friends and learn about the art of theatre criticism.

In a very exciting and innovative programme young people are given an opportunity to see quality productions, while developing their critical skills under the mentorship of international theatre critic and academic, Dr. Karen Fricker and Alan King, NAYD Youth Theatre Officer.

In order to offer individual advice and guidance on developing each young person’s critical skills, places on the programme are limited to 16. Those who are interested should apply through their youth theatre before Friday March 4th.


The Young Critics will meet in Dublin from Friday April 22nd to Sunday April 24th for the first time and again in October. Over the two weekends the Young Critics will attend at least four theatre productions, and participate in workshops and discussions with the mentors.

In October, the group will meet up in Dublin again to see further productions, take part in more workshops and participate in a public panel discussion.

In between the two residential weekends, the Young Critics will be encouraged and supported to go and see other local productions, write some reviews and contribute to the Young Critics blog through vlogs and written reviews.



Participation in the programme is free: accommodation, food, theatre tickets and travel costs are covered by NAYD.

It is open to youth theatre members who will be aged 16 – 20 by April 1st 2016. We are looking for young people who are comfortable meeting new people, working in a highly focused way and are not afraid to share their thoughts and opinions with each other.

To be a Young Critic you must be fully available for both weekends. You must also be available to take part in online discussions and organise a theatre trip in your own area in between the two residential weekends. You be supported by NAYD, your own youth theatre and your local venues to do this.

NAYD will have welfare leaders in place on both weekends to ensure the wellbeing and safety of all participants.

Download and print off full information on Young Critics 2016

If you are interested in the programme, please download and  fill out the Application Form  and return by post only to:

Young Critics Programme, NAYD, 7, North Great George’s Street, Dublin 1 by Friday March 4th at 5pm

Watch some former Young Critics Talk about the Young Critics Programme.

Read about one young person’s experience on Young Critics 2014.

If you need further information please contact NAYD:

Office phone: 01 878 1301
Mobile (during the events): 086 829 5851

Further Information

NAYD Young Critics and Arts in Junior Cycle 2013-2016

Back in 2013 NAYD was approached by Seóna Ni Bhriain from the Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon. They were looking at existing models of engagement that could help Junior Cycle students have a greater understanding of, and participation in the Arts. NAYD’s Young Critics was recognised as a model of excellence and became part of the Performing Arts Learning Service (PALS) PALS initiative.

The PALS Pilot initiative took place in the run up to the Dublin Theatre Festival in 2013. Here a group of teachers experienced the Young Critics programmes themselves, taking part in workshops, seeing several productions and attending the Young Critic Forum at Project Arts Centre. The workshops were designed and facilitated by Alan King and Sarah Fitzgibbon. Several teachers who could not make the Forum in Dublin were able to participate via a live stream. The programme was co-ordinated by  Seóna Ni Bhriain, with IT support by Deborah Dignam.


NAYD Young Critics 2013. Chaired by Dr. Karen Fricker


The Arts in Junior Cycle emerged as part of a joint pilot initiative of the Department of Education and Skills Junior Cycle for Teachers (JCT) and the Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon. It was developed in the context of the introduction of the new Framework for Junior Cycle in 2014, and the  Performing Arts Learning Service (PALS) Feasibility Study commissioned by the Arts Council. The initiative is based on partnership and collaboration with key partners across the arts and education sectors. NAYD is one of these key partners.

Arts in Junior Cycle aims to support teachers and students to engage with the arts as an integrated part of the post-primary curriculum in Ireland.

In 2014 a suite of four different workshops were developed and rolled out nationwide. They were Page to Stage, Film in Focus ,  Speaking Shakespeare and Young Critics. Each was designed and delivered by highly respected arts facilitators. They were assisted and supported by group of dedicated teachers from the JCT support team, under the brilliant co-ordination of Karol Sadlier.


Junior Cycle teachers take part in their first ever Young Critics Workshop. March 2014


The response from the teachers was phenomenal. They could see how our models of working could be adapted with their students in a classroom setting. For the Young Critics, the workshops conveyed the notion that theatre was a living breathing thing and not just words on a page. For students this is often a huge barrier to cross in their understanding and enjoyment of theatre.

Following the success of these two programmes we are looking forward to working with the JCT team again later in the year.


To keep up to date with developments in Arts in Junior Cycle, you can visit their great website here, which also has lots of great resources for drama.