Creative Commons: Working together to support youth theatre development
Young Critics International Exchange 2017
NAYD are looking for 14 young people, aged 16 – 20, with an interest in learning about and developing skills in creative criticism in theatre.
NAYD is delighted to be partnering with Youth Theatre Arts Scotland to run a 5-day Young Critics International Exchange in Dublin. Part of a 3-year joint project called Creative Commons supported by the European Union via its Erasmus+ programme, the exchange will support each young person to develop their individual critical response process, their understanding of theatre and an individual voice.
When? Monday 10 – Friday 14 April 2017
CREATIVE COMMONS PROGRAMME
As a Young Critic, you will join 13 other young people from all over Ireland and 10 young people from Scotland in Dublin from April 10th – 14th.
Over the 5 action-packed days, participants will have fun getting to know each other, attend theatre productions, participate in a series of workshops and discussions as well as exploring the theatres and city of Dublin. Accommodation and workshops will be based at the Marino Institute of Education.
Participants are given the opportunity to see quality productions and develop their critical silks under the mentorship of professional theatre critics Dr. Karen Fricker and Gareth Vile. Workshops will be facilitated by NAYD’s Youth Theatre Officer Alan King and YTAS Theatre Practitioner Amy Watt.
In addition, there will be Young Critics activities taking place in the months after the International Exchange. Participants will continue the critical conversation on the Young Critics Blog where they will be encouraged to see, and make critical responses to, local productions.
The Irish group will come together in a similar way in October as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival.
The Scottish group will come together again for a weekend in August to take part in a series of workshops and to see productions at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe to build and hone the critical and creative skills developed in April.
At the end of the project, participants will qualify for a Youthpass, which is a European award recognizing non-formal and informal learning in youth work.
No prior experience is necessary, just an enthusiasm for learning and collaborating! 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.
• Applicants must be aged 16 – 20 on 1 April 2017.
• Applicants must be a current member of an NAYD affiliated Youth Theatre.
• Selected participants must be fully available from Monday 10 – Friday 14 April 2017 inclusive, willing to continue the critical conversation online and attend a follow up weekend event as part of Dublin Theatre Festival in October (dates tbc).
HOW TO APPLY
In order to offer individual advice and guidance on developing each young person’s critical skills, places on the programme are limited to 24 (14 from Ireland and 10 from Scotland)
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.
For full details on how to apply please download our information pack and application form here . Please provide us with the information asked for on the form and post your application no later than 5pm on Monday 6 February 2017. You can answer the application questions in writing or if you prefer via a video or voice recording (no longer than 2-3 minutes).
If you have any questions, please contact Alan King
Closing Date For Applications is 5pm Monday 6 February 2017
It’s almost two month since the Young Critics panel discussion at the Dublin Theatre Festival. Pierce McNee from Dundalk reflects on three action packed days in Dublin.
Friday Oct 7th 2016
It was an eventful afternoon in Dublin, as ever. Across the street a drum was was being beaten and a group of dancers performed to a large crowd. We were all reunited at the GPO and it felt like an age since the last time we had all seen each other. A great feeling came upon us all as we knew we were in for an absolute treat of a weekend.
We could not wait!
We made our way to the Dublin Fringe Festival Lab, where we had our first workshop discussing what the Dublin Theatre Festival is, the different elements of the festival and what makes it different from going to see a play which is not running at a theatre festival. We also discussed the Project Arts Centre and its history.
After having some tasty pizza and further discussions, we headed over to the Project Arts Centre to see our first show of the weekend: Wishful Beginnings. This was a show that I think we can all safely say we will never forget!
After the show we made our way back to the Marino Institute of Education whilst having intense post-show discussions as a group about Wishful Beginnings. This was by far the most interesting discussion I’ve had about a play as every single one of us had a different opinion. Some people loved it and some people hated. Not only that but everyone had their own ideas in regards to the themes explored in the show and how they were explored.
We returned to Marino and got ready for bed. Not one of us could cease to ponder on Wishful Beginnings.
Sat Oct 8th 2016
The next morning we had our second workshop where we discussed the history of the two most well known theatres in Ireland: The Abbey Theatre and The Gate Theatre. We talked about the nature of the plays they showcase and their target audience, as well as many other areas.
We would be going to see a play in the Gate that day. The play was called The Father. We discussed this play as well as our second play of the day: Alien Documentary, which was a piece of documentary theatre. This was something that I had never seen before.
After this, we went to see The Father. We also had the opportunity to meet with some of the stars of the show, Owen Roe, Fiona Bell and Peter Gaynor backstage. We had the chance to ask them some questions about the show.
We then had lunch in the NAYD offices. This was hugely interesting as we got to see the workplace of the people who are in charge of all youth drama across Ireland.
Next it was off to the Jervis shopping centre for a quick spot of window-shopping and hot-chocolate drinking. It was then time for Alien Documentary. This was was being staged in the Project Arts Centre. When we got there I proceeded to take a quick trip to the toilet. As I was about entering the toilets, who did I meet? None other than PJ Gallagher himself. The famous Irish comedian and actor. He would be starring in Alien Documentary.
I will now be known by him as “that lad I met coming out of the jacks”!
When we got back to Marino, we all contributed eagerly to conversations on the plays we had seen that day. We also indulged in a few delicious chocolate treats to fuel our talks.
Sunday Oct 9th
On Sunday morning, we had one final workshop where we discussed each play we had seen and gave our opinions on them. We then prepared ourselves for our final Young Critics task: taking part in the NAYD Young Critics Panel.
This was where we were split into groups based on which of the three plays we wished to speak about. I decided that that I would like to speak about The Father. We would be giving our opinions and discussing the play in front of an audience of roughly fifty people and Dr. Karen Fricker would chair the discussions.
First we participated in a mock panel with Karen in order to become familiar with what the proceedings would involve. I was slightly nervous but I knew that I would have my Young Critics colleagues as well as Karen and Alan there to support me.
We concluded the panel with an opportunity for audience members to ask us, the Young Critics, any questions they had regarding the plays we had seen or any element of the Young Critics experience.
As soon as the Q&A session ended, we all came to the realisation that our time on the NAYD Young Critics Programme had now finished. We all had an immensely melancholic feeling. However, we knew that we would all remain friends and chat regularly. We also knew that we would keep in contact with Alan King and the NAYD. Our time as NAYD Young Critics might have come to an end but our time as young critics outside of the programme had only just begun.
This has been a truly incredible experience for me. I would like to thank Alan King and Dr. Karen Fricker. As well as Debbie, Graham, Ciara and everyone at the NAYD for making the programme possible. I would recommend the NAYD Young Critics Programme to absolutely everyone.
Pierce McNee is a member of Dundalk Youth Theatre and was an NAYD Young Critic for 2016
As the Young Critics programme draws to a close for 2014, Emma Gallagher from Greise Youth Theatre reflects on her experiences as a Young Critic.
‘The buzz is electric’ Dublin Theatre Festival director Willie White told the Irish Independent, and I could say the same for our experience in The Young Critics Programme. It is frightening to think it was around Easter time that I set out for my very first Young Critics weekend.
Oscar Wilde, Anton Chekhov and Owen McCafferty were names I knew a little about. That was until we started the workshops. Working with Alan King and Karen Fricker was like working with two theatre knowledge generators and I mean that in the best way possible.
I was so surprised to how in depth we actually we went into critiquing a play. In only two weekends our knowledge of theatre and all its aspects had expanded immensely. It was a real eye opener, exploring each element that can make a production special. From lighting to sound, music, and set to costume design, performers, writers and directors, the collaborative work put into productions is truly unique.
I became aware of the different types of theatre, from classic and contemporary to immersive, all of which we got the pleasure to experience. These were fantastical productions that had my mind blooming with new ideas.
An Ideal Husband at The Gate Theatre was a real treat. I was astonished by the intricate detail and energy that had been put into this one show. It was a wondrous romantic comedy enriched in Wilde’s dark and delightful witticisms.
Being involved in The Young Critics Programme really opened my eyes to the different professions within the world of the creative arts. From listening to director Gavin Quinn speak about Pan Pan’s colourful and playground like production, The Seagull and Other Birds to the ever so sweet Marty Rae speak as openly and answer our questions about his experiences working as an actor.
Over the summer we were allocated the activity to bring each of our Youth Theatre’s to a new production in our own local venues.
Swing written by Steve Blount, Peter Daly, Gavin Kostick and Janet Moran, also directed by Peter Daly and starring Steve Blount and Janet Moran was a popular choice between The Young Critics participants. It received very positive feedback from a lot of the young people.
The Arts Centres kindly offered our Youth Theatre discounted tickets and NAYD organised a post-show chat with the cast of the production.
It was really interesting to hear how the show came into development and hear the actors speak about their character work in preparation for their roles.
Next was the video blog review of the play we chose to see. For the technophobes- I include myself in this category, this was a tricky challenge in which a few awkward techie problems occurred.
However, once I did manage to record a decent vlog, I actually felt I had really achieved something and it wasn’t half bad either. Having said that I won’t be the next Quentin Tarintino by any means but it was a very beneficial task and I think it will be of use in the future.
Spending two weekends with the young people from other Youth Theatres was splendid to say the very least. It was interesting to hear how different Youth Theatres’ work. We shared a lot of laughter and a couple of the members even shared a few tears during Ganesh Versus The Third Reich. It was a very touching production for a lot of people, so much so it received a standing ovation.
On the 5th of October The Young Critic’s Panel was held in The Project Arts Centre in Dublin. We had butterflies as people working in the shows, theatre folk and even Willie White attended. At first it was scary speaking about our honest opinions as a critic of the productions but also liberating too. I find public speaking a struggle, but this experience of sharing your thoughts openly about something you genuinely love and interests you was a real stepping-stone for me.
The buzz is electric – in the presence of people who are passionate about their work, their energy radiates. As Anton Chekhov said ‘knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice’.
Young Critics inspires to create action in the world of the arts.