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

Terror, Strength, Pain, Brilliance, and Children in Four Little Girls
Essay

Terror, Strength, Pain, Brilliance, and Children in Four Little Girls

by Alex Ates
21 February 2019
Learning from and Listening to Latinx Youth at the 2019 LTC TYA Sin Fronteras Festival and Convening
Essay

Learning from and Listening to Latinx Youth at the 2019 LTC TYA Sin Fronteras Festival and Convening

by Marci R. McMahon
19 February 2019
The Necessity of Including Youth in the Development of Theatre for Young Audiences
Essay

The Necessity of Including Youth in the Development of Theatre for Young Audiences

by Jennifer Kokai
5 February 2019
Howlround Theatre Commons
From the World Theatre Map
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.

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.

Berlin International Film Festival logo.
Theater for Young Audiences, America, and the Two Plutos
Essay

Theater for Young Audiences, America, and the Two Plutos

18 March 2014

I have to wonder why Berliners are willing to bring their children to film or theater like "Pluto". Why are they more apt to present for their children’s consideration an unvarnished exploration of what is dark and hard in the world, and Americans are not?

Eclectic Pond logo.
Shakespeare for the Young in Indianapolis
Essay

Shakespeare for the Young in Indianapolis

20 February 2014

When we do a talk back after our public performances of a Shakespearean play, there's a particular question that frequently comes up. This one question does a fair job of identifying the mission of EclecticPond Theatre Company (ETC). It's also the reason I signed on with the company shortly after it was formed in 2010. Invariably, this question comes from a well-meaning adult, and it always manages to surprise me that it has been asked again. “Do you really think that students can actually relate to anything in this play?”

Poster for Jester's Cap.
Homosexuality in Theater for Young Audiences
Essay

Homosexuality in Theater for Young Audiences

Jester’s Cap

21 January 2014

Alice Stanley reflects on Binary Theatre Company's production of Jester's Cap, by Daniel Pennyway and making theatre that contains feminism and same-sex love for a possibly-conservative audience.

Actions Speak Louder than Words
Essay

Actions Speak Louder than Words

The Growing Place of Visual Theater

15 January 2014

Bethany Lynn Corey offers a reflection and insight on the benefits of visual theatre.

A TYA Artist Turned Gatekeeper, or Perspectives of A TYA Artist Turned Gatekeeper
Essay

A TYA Artist Turned Gatekeeper, or Perspectives of A TYA Artist Turned Gatekeeper

19 August 2013

Riley Braem writes about his experience programming TYA, and why it's important to expose audiences to challenging work – the younger, the better.

Write Now logo.
Choosing the Kiddie Table
Essay

Choosing the Kiddie Table

7 August 2013

Courtney Sale offers an overview of the new play development conference, Write Now.

Other Worlds Bleed Through
Essay

Other Worlds Bleed Through

31 July 2013

While examining the Paleolithic period, Eric Coble investigates the power of fluidity and permeability in theatre. 

The Twitter logo.
Weekly Howl on Thursday, February 7
Essay

Weekly Howl on Thursday, February 7

Creating new models and infrastructure for TYA producing, presenting, touring

4 February 2013

This week's Howl and will focus on creating new models and infrastructure for Theater for Young Audiences' producing, presenting, and touring.

Several people in penguin costumes in a production of And Then Came Tango.
Ruffling Feathers
Essay

Ruffling Feathers

Theater for Social Justice

29 January 2013

Creating and producing social advocacy theatre faces many roadblocks. Emily Freeman learned that exercising relentlessness while practicing love is the best way to find an audience.

The Twitter logo.
Weekly Howl on Thursday, January 31
Essay

Weekly Howl on Thursday, January 31

How are you going to smartly negotiate the changing landscape of the TYA field?

28 January 2013

Join us thursday to discuss the changing landscape of Theatre for Young Audiences

The Shifting Landscape of Theatre for Young Audiences
Essay

The Shifting Landscape of Theatre for Young Audiences

Searching for (and Creating) New Maps

27 January 2013

Kim Peter Kovac on the changing landscape of Theater for Young Audiences, and the opportunities that presents. 

The Twitter logo.
Thursday, December 6th Weekly Howl
Essay

Thursday, December 6th Weekly Howl

Theater For Young Audiences

5 December 2012

This week's Howl goes all the way with TYA