Creative Commons is a 2-year project funded by the European Union’s Erasmus+ programme. It provides Youth Theatre Ireland and Youth Theatre Arts Scotland, our sister organisation in Scotland, with the opportunity to share best practice across sectors and build new resources in Young Critics practice and Young Leader mentorship and skills development.
The Young Critics International Exchange brought 24 together from Ireland and Scotland for five days in Dublin. During the Easter holidays, the group took part in workshops and saw a number of professional productions at theatres across the city.
Luke Murphy from Lightbulb Youth Theatre in Mallow, Co. Cork was selected to take part in the programme.
Here Luke reflects on those five days in Dublin.
“Youth Theatre Ireland’s Young Critics International Exchange 2017 was a fantastic experience that both provided skills in forming critical opinions on theatre, as well as exploring the different means of doing so. What resulted was five enjoyable days in Dublin city.
Arriving at the GPO, I met up with 13 other Irish youth theatre members, as well as some of the staff from Youth Theatre Ireland. Immediately I was faced with a whole group of friendly people who seemed just as excited for the week’s events as I was. We travelled to the Marino Institute, which was where our workshops and accommodation were located. Upon arriving, we met an additional ten youth theatre members from Scotland. This were all members of groups affiliated to Youth Theatre Arts Scotland. One of the things that impressed me the most about the experience was how well everyone got along, and how quickly friendships formed.
Of course, the workshops were a great way of achieving this. We would each get our own time to express opinions of the various productions we saw, as well as what we were expecting prior to the performances. I found that discussing theatre can be just as exciting as watching it live. It was incredible to see the different perspectives from which people approached the shows we saw. The best thing about the workshops, was how they felt at the same time both a focused discussion on a piece of theatre, and a casual chat about a play.
The shows in question were The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Silent, and The Train. I think overall everyone enjoyed the productions, whether it was viewing them or discussing their reactions afterwards. The plays were very diverse in themes and style, from one man shows to musicals. This allowed us to review different types of theatre, and the elements that these consisted of.
We were guided by a professional group of leaders, who each had their own experience in theatre. They helped us structure reviews, and explore modes of reviewing other than writing, for example vlogging and podcasts. They were very friendly and approachable, accepting questions on how to improve our own skills.
Each day held a new experience. The workshops were unique, each focusing on particular skills crucial to a critic. We also had the chance to explore parts of Dublin city, and enter some of the most famous theatres in the country, such as The Abbey and The Gaiety. I’d never been to any of these theatres before, so getting to see productions in them was a great experience.
I can genuinely say the I made great friends and memories at Young Critics 2017 and I hope to continue the experience in the months to come, between discussing theatre online, and meeting up with the other young critics once again at the Dublin Theatre Festival. I am delighted to be involved in this project, and it has really peaked my interest in theatre, as well as how to critique it.”
Luke and his fellow young critics will be seeing some shows at their local venues over the summer. They will be making critical responses and we will be posting a selection of them here over the coming months. You can follow the exploits of the Scottish Young Critics here