For the last three summers the NAYD Young Critics have been given the task of selecting a professional theatre production to see over the summer months.
The aim is to encourage them to see more theatre independently of the NAYD programme and create a culture of theatre going not only amongst the Young Critics, but also their wider youth theatre community.
Ideally it should be on in their local arts centre or venue and they are encouraged and supported to make a group booking for their own youth theatre to attend also.
NAYD, along with the participating local arts centres support this initiative through discounts, youth theatre group rates and the NAYD Go See YT Fund.
They were encouraged to utilise their own programming eye and select work that they would then be able to create a critical response to. These critical responses take the form of short video blog reviews or podcasts, where they discuss the shows.
Since the start of May, the Young Critics have been seeing work and then writing, shooting and editing their own individual critical response vlogs. Some of these take the form of straight up critical responses, while others utilise comedy, drama and other techniques to respond to the work.
What did they see?
In the last two years there were a large number of One Man/ One Woman shows touring the country.This year there were more medium scale touring productions on offer, perhaps suggesting that there is a broader range of work on offer. Or perhaps companies are being better funded then in previous years.
Decadent Theatre Company led the way with their production of The Weir by Conor McPherson, which was seen by three Young Critics in venues in Cork, Kilkenny and Limerick.
Chapterhouse Theatre Company from the UK toured their production of Sense and Sensibility to stately homes in Kilkenney and Kerry was reviewed by two of our Young Critics.
Following his Olivier Award winning success, Pat Kinevane’s Underneath continues it’s extensive tour with Fishamble. It was viewed and reviewed by two of our Young Critics at the Townhall Cavan and Droichead Arts Centre.
Another show at Droichead Arts Centre was Brokentalkers highly acclaimed The Blue Boy. You can view Young Critic Jack Synott’s critical analysis here
Touring to Sligo was The Everyman, Cork’s production of God Bless The Child, which caught the attention of our Young Critic from Sligo Youth Theatre.
For our two Dublin based Young Critics, Philip McMahon’s Town is Dead proved a popular choice at the Peacock Theatre.
Also in Dublin, was the Gate’s production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee, which was reviewed by one of our Young Critics
Regionally, local productions included Lovely Leitrim at the Ramor Theatre Virginia, Romeo and Juliet at An Tain Dundalk, The State of The Nation at The Balor Arts Centre, Co. Donegal, and The Dark Kingdom at the Granary Theatre as part of the Cork Midsummer Festival.
Through the month of August we will be sharing a selection of their critical responses across the Young Critics Blog.
In September we will be sharing some written reviews of work in the run up to the Young Critics Panel as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival.
It has been a really productive few months for the NAYD Young Critics and we look forward to sharing our responses to the work with you all.
A big thanks to all the venues and companies who continue to support the initiative through discounts and group rates.