Young Critics International Exchange by Luke Murphy

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.


Young Critics Aaron Dobson (L) and Luke Murphy (R)

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.


Theatre Critic Gareth Vile workshops with the Young Critics

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.


Theatre Critic Karen Fricker (L) listens on as the Young Critics give their opinions

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.


Luke Murphy and fellow Young Critics enjoying some social time in Dublin

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.”


The 24 Young Critics from across Ireland and Scotland at the Abbey Theatre


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 





Young Critics International Exchange 2017 – Applications Now Open

Creative Commons: Working together to support youth theatre development

Young Critics International Exchange 2017 - Applications Now Open

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
Where?  Dublin
Cost?     FREE


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).


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


April 10-14




Closing Date For Applications is 5pm Monday 6 February 2017