NAYD boasted an expanded Young Critics programme in 2008 with a group of youth theatre members meeting up three times and seeing 7 shows in total. One of the participants, Chris Fenlon from Celbridge Youth Drama, has kindly agreed to share his experience with us.
Critiquing plays, now that was definitely not what I thought I would be doing this year. But I have to say I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I already had an interest in drama, being a member of Celbridge Youth Drama, but it had been more from the point of view of being on stage or backstage, not sitting in the audience. The programme truly made me appreciate drama from the audience’s point of view.
The weekends were great; we would meet up on the Friday evening and stay in Dublin till the Sunday afternoon. We usually saw two or three plays and had 3 or 4 workshops, where we discussed what we had seen or what we were going to see. We were talking about what we got from the plays and what worked in the performance and what didn’t. We had to write our own reviews and were thought the tricks of the trade by our great leaders Karen and Sarah. The great thing was they were there to help us the whole time and if we needed a bit of advice or to clear something up about what we can and cant say when critiquing plays. It was really friendly and nobody was put down when opinions differed, as they often did I might add. We stayed over in a hostel in Dublin and besides the odd leaking ceiling, flying boot and headache for Laura it was great fun!
We saw 7 plays over the three weekends; Ross O Carroll-Kelly Last Days of the Celtic Tiger, Burial At Thebes, The Weir, The Three Sisters, Blackwatch, Dodgems and That Night Follows Day
The panel was the highlight of the whole year; there was a really friendly atmosphere and I thoroughly enjoyed it, Karen lead the discussion and helped us along and really made it so much easier and less intimidating for us. Even one of the writers in the audience didn’t take away from the enjoyment and satisfaction I got from doing it!
The whole experience opened up a new part of drama to me and I plan to keep it up, at the moment just writing about plays I see but who knows maybe someday ill try and get something printed.
I’d just like to wrap it all up by thanking everyone from NAYD, Sarah and Karen in particular and Laura, Diane and Orla (0ur Welfare Leaders) for putting up with us in the hostel and of course to all those working behind the scenes at NAYD, who we didn’t see all that much of, but it would never have happened with out you guys and last but by no means least to all my fellow young critics for all the laughs, discussions and good times.
Keep checking out the Young Critics’ page for details of future programmes