Grainne Moriarty was a participant on this year’s Young Critics programme. In this month’s blog entry, she writes about the experience:
Two of the most memorable week-ends of my life: a statement I am sure every person who took part in the Young Critics Programme would agree on. It was a daunting thought that I would be spending the week-end with fifteen strangers and I’ll admit my stomach was clenched as I made my way to the G.P.O that first Friday. I look back and laugh as I realise that it was within the first hour that this group began to feel like family! They were all equally as nervous and excited to embark on what was about to be a kaleidoscope of fun, learning and of course critiquing.
This year the Young Critics Programme consisted of two jam-packed week-ends. The first in March left us wishing the days away for our second one in October. First on our agenda, after dropping our bags into the hostel at which we were staying, was our introductory workshop with Anna Galligan and Karen Fricker, who introduced us to the principle ideas and techniques of critiquing. This amazing duo was always there to offer us support and advice. The next morning we had another great workshop during which we discussed the plays we were going to see. That Saturday afternoon we saw ‘The Comedy of Errors’ and, later, ‘Solemn Mass for a Full Moon in Summer’. In the workshop the next morning there was no shortage of opinions. Even though they differed hugely there was always an open-minded, friendly atmosphere and no matter how small a statement you made it was received as valid and valuable.
The much anticipated week-end in October followed roughly the same format. However, over the course of this week-end we saw three plays and had three workshops. The Friday we arrived we saw ‘The New Electric Ballroom’ and the following day we saw ‘To Be Straight With You’ and ‘KAMP’. There was great variety between the three shows. ‘The New Electric Ballroom’ was theatre in quite a traditional way, but both of the other two were theatre in a broader sense. ‘To Be Straight With You’ was performed by DV8, a physical theatre company. I had never seen a performance marrying dance and theatre in such a successful and captivating way. ’KAMP’ blended visual art with film and object theatre to create a unique theatrical experience. It was probably the most interesting to critique during workshops as people had such varied opinions.
The week-end ended with the Young Critics Public Forum. This was one of the most amazing events of my life. Karen Fricker chaired the panel and we were given the opportunity to critique the plays in front of a live audience. Nerve-wracking, yes. Thrilling, most definitely!
The entire programme was an exhilarating experience that opened up my mind and enabled me to look at theatre from a different perspective. I’ve come out of it with life-long friends and countless memories I’ll have forever. Thank you so much to everyone that was involved in the organisation and those that worked with us through it all… and of course my fellow critics who also helped make it such a great time!
Cork School Of Music Youth Theatre
You can view photos of the Young Critics event on our Flickr Photostream.