New Artistic Planning Resource
We have just added a new resource on artistic planning to the NAYD Advice Centre. Here Youth Theatre Officer, Alan King, explains the rationale for its development:
Since starting as Youth Theatre Officer, almost two years ago now, one of the mainstays of my work has been helping and guiding people with their artistic planning and strategy.
Through our ongoing discussions with groups in development and even with our long established members we have found that long term planning is one of the most challenging areas of youth theatre activity.
For many new and developing groups, so much energy and preparation goes into setting up the youth theatre through such tasks as forming committees, drawing up child protection policies, recruitment, that the one area that can take a back seat is the actual artistic activity.
Once a group has been set up and the first few introductory workshops of getting to know each other and simple improvisation have been explored, where do you go from here? We often plan from week to week with no regard for what happens in week 16 or years two and three.
What is long term planning? Well it’s the ability to plan way into the future, maybe as far as five years. It gives you achievable goals and an interesting and rewarding artistic programme to try with your group.
There is no hard and fast approach to planning your year, and as there are many different types of youth theatres, with different development needs, resources and members, no two youth theatres are ever alike.
It is for that reason that there is no ‘standard youth theatre syllabus’. NAYD has never developed one, nor to we feel it is appropriate to do so. What is appropriate and vital is to develop a programme that reflects your own needs and your desire to engage your members with interesting and challenging work. It is also vital that the group is encouraged to develop artistically, personally and socially and over time develop their own style and take some risks with the artistic programme.
If you were to do the same thing every year, boredom would soon set in and it is unlikely the youth theatre would survive.
We have recently developed a sample three-year artistic plan for youth theatres. It is not absolute or foolproof, but a well thought-out guide that can at the very least form a starting point for your own artistic plans.
It is a three-year cycle with separate terms in each year, programming workshops, with scope for productions. It also addresses the needs for social and fundraising activities for all members and their wider community to take part in and enjoy.
The resource comes in two parts.
The first part is a series of three easy to follow diagrams for each year in the plan. They are clearly laid out month by month. They list a series of artistic and strategic approaches for that time of year. For each year in the cycle the progress and development for the group is very clear.
The second part is a very comprehensive document that lists each activity with a further expansion and explanation as to the logic behind such activities.
Together they form a good guide to help you with your planning.
The three-year plan allows for development and trying new things while putting a strong weekly workshop at the very core of activities. It can be used for a group about to start for their very first year or can be applied to any group at any stage. It works off the rhythm of the academic year and if this doesn’t suit you please use it to coincide with the time-frame that best suits your group.
As I said it is not an absolute but merely a guide and a starting point. We hope that it helps and inspires you to plan effectively for your youth theatre!