Theatre for Young Audiences

Curious about work by or for young people? Content here is all about TYA: writing from practitioners, video of performances, and more.

The Latest

What You, Theatremaker, Can Learn from Theatre for the Very Young
Essay

What You, Theatremaker, Can Learn from Theatre for the Very Young

by Alex Ates
29 July 2019
A performance of Alice's Wonderland
Video

A performance of Alice's Wonderland

at the VORTEX in Austin, Texas

Friday 26 July 2019
Austin, Texas
Creating a Feminist Punch and Judy Show
Essay

Creating a Feminist Punch and Judy Show

by Roxanna Myhrum
16 June 2019
Howlround Theatre Commons
From the World Theatre Map
Respect for Children
Essay

Respect for Children

There Are No Children

4 August 2015

In the second installment of Teresa Simone’s Why I Hate Children’s Theatre series, the author discusses the problems with binary constructions of "child" and "adult."

Why I Hate Children’s Theatre
Essay

Why I Hate Children’s Theatre

a Modest Proposal for Theatre for Youth

21 July 2015

In the first installment of Teresa Simone’s Why I Hate Children’s Theatre series, the author discusses the problematic distinction between theatre for children and theatre for a general audience.

Valley Alliance of Latina/o Theatre Artists and Educators
Essay

Valley Alliance of Latina/o Theatre Artists and Educators

Connecting and Developing Latina/o Stories in the Rio Grande Valley in Tejas

5 July 2015

In the third installment of our series on Latina/o theatre in Texas, Marci R. McMahon discusses the work being done in educational institutions in the Rio Grande Valley.

Young Latina Protagonists
Essay

Young Latina Protagonists

New TYA Plays put Mexican American Girls Center Stage

11 June 2015

Roxanne Schroeder-Arce on Cenicienta by Rupert Reyes and Caroline Reck, and Alvaro Saar Rios’ LUCHADORA!

Ahead of the Curve
Essay

Ahead of the Curve

Albany Park Theater Project and Third Rail Project's Learning Curve

5 May 2015

In her latest installation, Morgan Greene rediscovers high school through Albany Park Theater Project’s immersive experience Learning Curve.

Write Now: a National Effort for Developing New Work for Young Audiences
Video

Write Now: a National Effort for Developing New Work for Young Audiences

Monday 4 May and Tuesday 5 May 2015
Indianapolis, IN, United States

Indiana Repertory Theatre and Childsplay presents three conversations from Write Now—a national effort to advocate for playwrights and to promote the development of new work for young audiences—livestreaming on the global, commons-based peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv Monday 4 May and Tuesday 5 May. In Twitter, use #howlround & #tya. Follow @HowlRoundTV for updates.

Out of Sight, Not Out of Mind—Hearing the Voices of the Future
Essay

Out of Sight, Not Out of Mind—Hearing the Voices of the Future

25 April 2015

Norwegian composer Marte Røyeng has created a musical exploring sustainability with children, hoping to help them think about big issues.

A Call for Solidarity: A Real-Time Networked Performance Linking Hawaii, Alaska, and NYC
Video

A Call for Solidarity: A Real-Time Networked Performance Linking Hawaii, Alaska, and NYC

Wednesday 15 April 2015
Alaska, Hawaii, & New York City; United States

A Call for Solidarity—a real-time networked performance linking Hawaii, Alaska, and New York City—livestreamed on the global, commons-based peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Wednesday 15 April at 8 p.m. EDT (New York) / 7 p.m. CDT (Chicago) / 5 p.m. PDT (Los Angeles) / 4 p.m. AKDT (Alaska) / 2 p.m. HAST (Hawaii).

A Conversation with Finegan Kruckemeyer
Essay

A Conversation with Finegan Kruckemeyer

26 December 2014

Corey Ruzicano talks to playwright Finegan Kruckemeyer about making theater for young audiences, how a kid should be a kid, and what he thinks of when he writes from his community in Tasmania.

The cast of Take it From Me—Violence Just Don’t Understand.
It Takes a (Tofu Chitlin’) Circuit
Essay

It Takes a (Tofu Chitlin’) Circuit

Defining Community in Youth Theater

8 November 2014

Sydney Chatman is the creator and director of The Tofu Chitlin’ Circuit, a community and youth ensemble training collective based in Chicago’s South Side. Before creating TCC, Chatman worked on productions from Chicago to Broadway, while also teaching at the University of Chicago Charter School. When students she once taught as kindergarteners came to her as teens and said, “Can you train and teach me?” she said, “Yes.”

Uncovering Staged Readings and Discovering the Art of Collaboration
Essay

Uncovering Staged Readings and Discovering the Art of Collaboration

1 November 2014

Yet after reading about staged readings and their role in play development, I hit a roadblock. I couldn’t come up with a definition that addressed every possible scenario. More vexingly, I couldn’t figure out how to negotiate concrete meanings for words like “minimal” and “basic” that are often used when discussing staged reading elements. Despite the many points of agreement found when looking at various discussions, there are too many differences in definition to develop a clear picture of what exactly a staged reading is or how it should look.

Oh, the Feels! Or, What Is the Collision Project?
Essay

Oh, the Feels! Or, What Is the Collision Project?

17 September 2014

Anne Towns shares an overview of the Alliance Theatre Collision Project. 

A chalkboard drawing.
Youth on Youth
Essay

Youth on Youth

Free Street Theater’s Youth Ensemble and The Young Fugitives

12 September 2014

When it was founded in 1969, Free Street Theater (FST) was one of Chicago’s first racially integrated ensembles and since its inception has taken its art and activism to the streets, making theater for, with, and by the people. When I asked about the art they’d like to create, Patches summed it up: “We’re already making it.”

Panel for walk on the wild side.
Art for All
Essay

Art for All

What South Carolina Taught Me About Radical Theatermaking

5 September 2014

Over my time in Spartanburg, I learned firsthand that South Carolina is not a homogenous place. There are all kinds of people in South Carolina, people with voices and powerful stories. A lot of those stories are invisible because of the cultural and political climate that surrounds them. That doesn’t mean they aren’t there—but it means that to those living outside of the state, they don’t exist.

Props from #24teen.
Clobberation
Essay

Clobberation

Clobbering through a Collaboratively-Built Touring Show

17 August 2014

Ashley Laverty and Rivka Rocchio reflect on maintaining relationships during a theatre production

Wall in the AFYT rehearsal space.
About Face Youth Theatre
Essay

About Face Youth Theatre

Checking, Expanding, and Activating Boxes

28 July 2014

In About Face Youth Theatre’s rehearsal space, there is a cluster of post-it notes on the wall titled “Where I Started.” The ensemble’s first impressions range from “not being satisfied” to “ready to just do something” to “oblivion.” These notes relate to the process of AFYT’s current play, Checking Boxes.

Dispatch from the Youth Theater Festival in Ramallah, Palestine—Part Two
Essay

Dispatch from the Youth Theater Festival in Ramallah, Palestine—Part Two

19 July 2014

In a volatile, war-torn place, things change quickly and recurring issues of conflict, occupation, and survival dominate—all the more reason to have festivals like this and theaters like Ashtar that persist under such circumstances and create transformative experiences.

Chicago’s Theater By, With, and For Young Audiences
Essay

Chicago’s Theater By, With, and For Young Audiences

Looking Back and Moving Forward

12 July 2014

The TYA branch of theater for, by and with young people offers a rare intersection of authorship, representation and inverted hierarchies. When the lack of youth voices in the creation of theater for youth is accepted as normal, a power structure thrives that creates theater by, with and pleasing to adults. What happens when youth write, perform and even produce their own work, causing the usual gatekeepers to take a backseat?

An exercise from the Youth Theatre Festival.
Dispatch from the Youth Theater Festival in Ramallah, Palestine—Part One
Essay

Dispatch from the Youth Theater Festival in Ramallah, Palestine—Part One

2 July 2014

In 2012, eleven young theater students succeeded in starting Ashtar’s first youth festival. Ashtar Theatre, which was founded in 1991 by Iman Aoun and Edward Muallem, describes itself as “a dynamic local Palestinian theatre with a truly progressive global perspective.” Their core programs are drama training of local youth through an extracurricular after school program, Theater of the Oppressed Forum Theatre productions that explore “essential critical topics in Palestinian society” and international collaborations.

Queer Narratives in Theater for Young Audiences
Essay

Queer Narratives in Theater for Young Audiences

A Call to Action

25 June 2014

Playwright Gabriel Jason Dean and Director Lindsay Amer discuss "risky plays", queer characters and narratives, and young audiences.

Yugen Unforeseen
Essay

Yugen Unforeseen

6 June 2014

Some might point out that Noh lacks the excess of Gothic. There is no visual, aural, or excess of story, but one cannot deny the emotional excesses of the tortured soul, the ecstatic god, the deranged woman. The emotional excess in Noh is so restrained that it feels, somehow, more Gothic than, say, the ravings of a mad scientist.

Original Plays Created by 100+ Young Artists at the Voices of Now Festival
Video

Original Plays Created by 100+ Young Artists at the Voices of Now Festival

Friday 16 May and on Saturday 17 May 2014
Washington, D.C., United States

Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater presented the Voices of Now Festival livestreamed on the global, commons-based peer-produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Friday 16 May and on Saturday 17 May at 4:30 p.m. PDT / 6:30 p.m. CDT / 7:30 p.m. EDT on the global, commons-based peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv. Use Twitter hashtag #howlround to comment and share.

The Controversy in Chicago Over the Critical Review of God’s Work
Essay

The Controversy in Chicago Over the Critical Review of God’s Work

9 May 2014

In accepting the single story that "God’s Work" does not belong in a downtown Chicago theater, do we contribute to the silencing of the voices of our youth? I believe "God’s Work" is just as worthy of embodiment on stage as "Our Class" or any other current Chicago production, regardless of the age of the ensemble members telling it.

Exemplary Youth Theater in Albany Park Theatre Project’s God’s Work
Essay

Exemplary Youth Theater in Albany Park Theatre Project’s God’s Work

6 May 2014

Dani Snyder-Young writes about the Chicago-based Albany Park Theatre Project, a youth theatre ensemble. She reviews APTP's 2014 remounted production of God's Work, at the Goodman Theatre.

Photo from Peter Pan.
Autism & Theater Techniques to Increase Social Skills
Essay

Autism & Theater Techniques to Increase Social Skills

28 April 2014

We produced "A Christmas Carol" and adapted our own versions of "Peter Pan" and "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe". The students reveled in the attention from their sold-out audiences. These children weren’t just spectators; they were the stars of the show. To a child who is constantly told, "You won’t be able to do that," by teachers or medical professionals, this was an unexpected feat.