Underneath by Pat Kinevane, a Young Critic video review

Maryanne Brasil from Free Radicals Youth Theatre in Tralee offers another Young Critic video review.

Here Maryanne reviews Fishamble’s production of Underneath by Pat Kinevane, following it’s performance at St. John’s Theatre in Listowel,Co.Kerry.

Underneath is currently at the the Edinburgh Fringe at Dance Base until Aug 30th.

Maryanne Brasil is a member of NAYD Young Critics for 2015

Our Summer of Shows 2016 – NAYD Young Critics

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?

Summer Shows 2016

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.



A Summer of Shows with The Shadow Of A Gunman

It’s been a fabulously productive summer for this year’s Young Critics.

As part of our summer initiative, and with the support of their local arts centres and venues, they have been seeing productions the length and breath of the country.

They selected a show and  planned a theatre trip for their youth theatre friends. Their own curatorial skills were being put to the test as they selected a show that would hold the interest of their peers.

The range of productions they have managed to see has been truly impressive. There was lots of New Irish Writing on display with many shows touring to local arts centres. The One Man Show is a staple of the touring circuits and there was no shortage of these on offer.

Young Critics Summer Shows

Several Young Critics went to see Mikel Murfi’s sublime The Man In The Woman’s Shoes, and Pat Kinevane’s equally sublime Underneath.

Michael Hillard Mulcahy’s After Sarah Miles, set in Dingle, was attend by Dusigh’s Young Critic from Tralee.

The two Young Critics from Footsteps Youth Theatre attended Seamus Moran’s Have a Heart at the Friars Gate Theatre Kilmallock, Co.Limerick.

There were also plenty of full productions on offer including An Grianan’s touring production of Frank Pig Says Hello by Pat McCabe and Martin Lynch’s My English Tongue, My Irish Heart.

There were World Premieres aplenty with Co. Carlow Youth Theatre members being treated to Jockey by Willfredd Theatre Co at Visual, Carlow.

Before Monsters Were Made by Ross Dungan was another World Premiere at Project Arts Centre as was My Second Self at the Civic Theatre and The Ballad of Charlie & Cate at the Cork Midsummer Festival.

Our Young Critic from Donegal Youth Theatre attended Annie The Musical at The Balor Theatre.

Finally Niamh Murphy, one of our Young Critics from County Wexford Youth Theatre attended Sean O’Casey’s The Shadow of A Gunman at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin.

Here is her very fine video blog review of the production.

Have you seen the show?

Would you agree with Niamh?

About Young Critics

Seeing through the eyes of a Young Critic

The Young Critics is a programme of Youth Theatre Ireland. (Formerly NAYD)

Youth Theatre Ireland is the national development organisation for youth theatre. We support a network of youth theatres who deliver year-round programmes of drama workshops and performance opportunities to young people aged 12 – 21 from cities, towns and villages across Ireland.

Established since 1980, Youth Theatre Ireland is unique in its commitment to youth-centered drama practice.  At Youth Theatre Ireland, we know that youth theatre is a place to develop young artists and young citizens and we promote youth drama opportunities that focus on the artistic, personal and social development of young people.


The Young Critics Programme is part of Youth Theatre Ireland’s commitment to developing youth theatre members’ awareness and appreciation of the aesthetic of theatre. The programme brings youth theatre members together to:

  • attend workshops in the critique of professional theatre
  • attend professional performances at leading Irish festivals
  • give their own critiques of the performances at the Young Critics Panel

The Young Critics continues to be one of Youth Theatre Ireland’s most popular programmes. It is aimed at youth theatre members who are interested in watching, critically discussing and reviewing theatre. Participants come together for at least two residential weekends during the year. The final weekend features the Young Critics Panel; a public discussion forum that takes place in October at the Dublin Theatre Festival.

Young Critics 2018 

The Young Critics spring residential took place from April 6th – 8th in Dublin. The group will meet again from October 5th – 7th as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival.

Kate Moore from Free Radicals Youth Theatre in Tralee County Kerry reflects on the first residential for Young Critics in April 2018.

Young Critics 2017

The Young Critics International Encounter ran over Easter 2017. Twenty- four young people from across Scotland and Ireland visited Dublin for an extended five day programme in the spring. In a partnership with Youth Theatre Arts Scotland. 


Twelve Irish Young Critics returned for the October leg as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival. 


Young Critics 2016

The Young Critics for 2016 will run from April 22nd – Oct 9th 2016. Full list of participating Youth Theatres are here .

Young Critics 2015


Young Critics visit the Gaiety Theatre for Conor McPherson’s The Night Alive as part of Dublin Theatre Festival 2015

The Young Critics ran  from April to October 2015.  With even more productions attended, there was larger increase in video blogs and some excellently written reviews. 


Young Critics Panel. Project Arts Centre, Dublin. Oct 4th 2015. Chaired by Dr. Karen Fricker.

The Young Critics Panel took place in Project Cube on Sunday October 4th at 1pm.


Young Critics 2014

In addition to the two great weekends of theatre, 2014 saw some new innovations to Young Critics. With the support of local venues and arts centres, the Young Critics had the opportunity to see a production in their home venue with their own youth theatre. From here, they each recorded a video blog review and four were invited to write reviews of those productions. Those reviews are available to read here.

The Young Critics Panel took place in Project Cube on Sunday October 5th at 1pm.

Photo Credit: Allen Kiely

Photo Credit: Allen Kiely

Young Critics 2013

There are two different strands to the  Young Critics programme for 2013.  The first strand is the regular Young Critics programme, where 16 young people will come together to watch, discuss and critique theatre over two separate weekends culminating in the Young Critics Panel as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival on October 6th in Project Arts Centre.

The Young Critics Panel at Dublin Theatre Festival

Young Critics 2013 arrive for King Lear at The Abbey Theatre

Young Critics 2013 arrive for King Lear at The Abbey Theatre

In March the group saw two productions. They were:

King Lear by William Shakespeare directed by Selina Cartmell at the Abbey Theatre

I,Malvolio written and performed by Tim Crouch

International Young Critics

The second part was The Young Critics International Encounter at the Cork Midsummer Festival.

16  young people from Austria, Ireland and Norway took part in weekend Encounter   to learn all about watching and critiquing theatre. They were also out and about at festival events forming  their own opinions and finding out what the audience, thought of some of the productions on offer.  They also hosted a Talking Shop at  the Camden Palace Hotel between 3pm and 5pm on Sunday 23rd June 

At the ‘Talking Shop’ audience members had the chance to find out how festival audiences had been responding; had the opportunity to chat to the Young Critics and were able to observe live recordings of interviews with some of the festival artists.

Members of the Young Critics International encounter interview Festival artists Conor Hanratty, Olwyn Fouéré  and John Heginbotham from Maria De Buenos Aries

Members of the Young Critics International encounter interview Festival artists Conor Hanratty, Olwyn Fouéré and John Heginbotham from Maria De Buenos Aries

The Young Critics International Encounter was  a partnership between NAYD, The Cork Midsummer Festival, The Stamsund International Festival, Norway and Biondekbuhne Youth Theatre, Austria.

This event was part of the Young Creatives strand of the Arts Council of Ireland’s Culture Connects programme for Ireland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

 Young Critics 2012

In 2012  we were delighted to announce an expanded Young Critics programme. In addition to two weekends in Dublin, participants would also attend  performances at the Cork Midsummer Festival.

The dates and locations are:

  • April 13-15, Dublin
  • June 22-24, Cork Midsummer Festival
  • October 5-7, Dublin Theatre Festival

Participants will attend at least eight performances while on the programme. They will also participate in workshops and discussions with international theatre critic Dr. Karen Fricker and Alan King, NAYD’s Youth Theatre Officer. The final weekend in Dublin will feature the Young Critics Panel, a public panel discussion, organised as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival.

It is an exciting opportunity for youth theatre members with an interest in theatre criticism. To quote a Young Critic from last year:

It has opened up a whole new world of different types of theatre, and different ways of looking at theatre.

The programme is open to members, aged 16 or over, from NAYD affiliated youth theatres. Participation is free of charge: the cost of travel, accommodation and food is covered.

The Young Critics Panel takes the form of a public discussion forum and has taken place in October for the last number of years, as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival.

In this blog the Young Critics will be sharing their views on not only the productions they have seen but also their experiences of the whole Young Critics programme

Some Feedback from former Young Critics 

‘’The programme has deepened my appreciation for how theatre is made as well as the role of the critic. It has enabled me to express my opinions while taking into consideration the views of others. It has given me an amazing opportunity to see top-class theatre.’’ Young Critic 2014

Young critics was an amazing experience and it was one of the best things I’ve done in youth theatre.’ Young Critic 2014

‘’I found the programme very interesting and and it made me realise that a career in the arts is achievable’’ Young Critic 2014

 ‘’it has given me both the opportunity and the reason to seriously consider what my life would be like if I went down the path of arts in my life.’’ Young Critic 2014

 ‘’I have made many amazing friends I will definitely keep in touch with’’ Young Critic 2014

‘Seeing the plays made me more excited about theatre, it made me want to go see more shows and to experiment in the non-acting elements of theatre when I returned to my own youth theatre.’ Young Critic 2013

[The Young Critics] has improved my ability to watch theatre in a critical manner and my ability to write reviews. I met lovely people and made lots of new friends.’ Young Critic 2013