Towards end of October I took the YTMF out on the road. I had originally piloted the workshops for the Greater Dublin Area back in August and now it was the time to visit other regions and see what their youth theatre members had to say about youth theatre in Ireland in 2010.
My first port of call was Backstage Theatre in Longford for the Northwest Midlands Region. We had a very good turn out with representatives from Carrick Youth Drama, Carrigallen, Mayo, Roscommon County, and Backstage Youth Theatres all in attendance.
Following a warm up and some icebreakers each of the representatives did a short presentation for each other on their own youth theatres. These were very informative and gave all present an indication of how similar yet unique is each youth theatre.
While we all watched the Capture YT short on Co. Sligo Youth Theatre we discovered that the reps all shared the same thing; a love of drama and the sense of community and belonging they all had in their youth theatres. There was discussion around all the things they liked and disliked about their youth theatres and how we might best move the YTMF forward into 2011.
Three days later I was down in Graffiti Theatre Company, who had agreed to host the South West Munster regional workshop in Cork city. An excellent turnout saw representatives from the Cork School of Music, Activate, Footlights, Lightbulb, Co. Clare, Co. Limerick, and West Cork Arts Centre Youth Theatres.
Following the same format the day evolved from one of trepidation and introduction to one of frank discussion and problem-solving.
What was common from all of the workshops so far was that all involved in youth theatre should be proud of what they do and share this beyond our youth theatres to our own wider local community both locally and nationally. It was also felt that there was a lack of support and communication between neighbouring youth theatres. There was a sense that youth theatres should be supporting each other’s productions more and engaging in shared experiences such as joint workshops and meetings independent of the NAYD national programme. These were the thoughts of the members representatives and they were able to articulate this far better than I could. They all stated that being a part of youth theatre was something very special and it has a huge bearing on how they are as people.
The YTMF next hits Kilkenny on November 28th for the South East Regional workshop and back around to Dublin again for their second meeting on December 11th. If you missed out on taking part in the workshops so far and maybe feel your youth theatre’s voice is not being heard at a regional level, contact me about taking part in the second round of regional workshops early in the new year.
Youth Theatre Officer