21 April 2020

Programme Announcement – Cancellation of National Festival of Youth Theatres

The Board of Directors and staff team of Youth Theatre Ireland are sad to announce the cancellation of the National Festival of Youth Theatres 2020, which had been scheduled to take place from 30th June – 5th July.

This difficult decision has been made in the context of continued COVID-19 measures; the anticipated ongoing restriction on mass-gatherings; and the rescheduling of the Leaving Certificate Examination to late July/ Early August.

Until recently we had continued with planning for the festival including the selection of 13 Youth Theatres to attend. However, after careful consideration and much reluctance, we now have no choice other than to cancel what would have been a special festival to mark our 40th birthday. The planned programme was to include an extra day of activities and an outdoor performance for a public audience.

We are heartbroken that we will have no National Festival of Youth Theatres in this, of all years. Our thoughts are with the artists and leaders who were engaged for the festival but most importantly we are disappointed for the 104 young people who will miss out this year. NFYT is the largest annual gathering of youth theatres and the highlight of our national programme.

All is not lost however, we will celebrate our birthday at NFYT 2021 and for this summer we won’t be leaving the #BestWeekEver unmarked! Instead, plans are afoot for a programme of youth theatre activities that will be offered remotely over the week of 30th June – 5th July to mark the 2020 National Festival of Youth Theatres. Expect an announcement at the end of May!

The youth theatres selected to participate in NFYT 2020 were:

Activate Youth Theatre, Cork; Act Out Youth Theatre, Navan; Cabinteely Youth Theatre, Dublin; County Limerick Youth Theatre; Droichead Youth Theatre, Louth; Explore Youth Theatre, Kildare; Giant Wolf Youth Theatre, Tallaght; Gonzo Youth Theatre, Cavan; Laois Youth Theatre; Lightbulb Youth Theatre, Mallow; Making Waves Youth Theatre, Wicklow; Playacting Youth Theatre, Kildare; and Sligo Youth Theatre.

The Board of Youth Theatre Ireland have agreed to honour fees to artists who have been contracted for programmes cancelled due to COVID-19. We would like to acknowledge the continued support of our principal funders at this time, The Arts Council of Ireland and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

We would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the many affiliate youth theatres and their leaders who continue to engage their members online, and remain a vital space for togetherness and creativity for young people at this time of isolation.

Full 2020 Programme Updates, as of 20th April 2020.

#YouthTheatreTuesdays New programme
This weekly event has been taking place since March and will continue while COVID-19 restrictions continue. Each Tuesday, youth theatre leaders come together in a video conference to share ideas, insights and inspirational ways to keep their programmes on track.

Young Critics
Youth Theatre Ireland’s long-running criticism programme for young people.
Weekend 1 : Postponed to dates TBA
Weekend 2: October at the Dublin Theatre Festival

National Youth Theatre
NYT will once again recruit for an ensemble to work across two calendar years towards a production in August 2021. As it stands the programme will go ahead as planned with auditions scheduled to be held in August / September 2020.

ARTiculate Young Playwrights Group
In association with the National Youth Theatre Programme, ARTiculate has recruited 21 participants to be mentored in playwrighting by Dylan Coburn-Gray, Veronica Coburn and Barry Morgan. Articulate kicked off in an online format on Saturday 18th April and will continue to take place on the second Saturday of each month.

Buzz Network
Opportunities for youth theatre artists and leaders to travel and participate in Artists and Leaders Labs with the partner organisations in this Creative Europe funded programme have been disrupted but will be rescheduled:

Artists Lab 1: ‘Co-creation and Empowering Young People’ – 20th – 25th April, hosted by BRONKS, Belgium. Postponed until further notice.

Leaders Lab 1: ‘Professionalising your Practice for Emerging YT Leaders’ – hosted by Youth Theatre Ireland, Dublin. Rescheduled to 14th – 18th September

Artists Lab 2: ‘Diverse Voices’ – 2nd – 7th November, hosted by Youth Theatre Arts Scotland, Edinburgh

Youth Theatre Inclusion Seminar – Supporting Young People with ASD
This one day seminar has been re-scheduled to Saturday 10th October

Leading On….
Annual Leaders Residential Training Weekend
Dates: 12th – 14th  June. Postponed until further notice

National Festival of Youth Theatres – 40th Anniversary Special
The largest gathering of youth theatres, held annually in Kilkenny. Cancelled. The special celebratory festival to mark Youth Theatre Ireland’s 40th birthday will now take place in July 2021. A programme of remote youth theatre activities will take place to mark NFYT 2020 in the week of 30th – 5th July.

Laying the Foundations – QQI Accredited Training in Youth Drama Facilitation.
Two component modules of the full level 6 Artstrain programme will be delivered across 9 weekends through centres rotating between Dublin, Offaly and Westmeath. Funded by Creative Ireland. Recruitment has been completed and course delivery dates rescheduled to take account of COVID-19 Restrictions.

Youth Theatre Symposium – 40 years of youth theatre practice
This year’s two-day symposium in UCC will celebrate the growth of youth theatre in Ireland. A celebratory reception will honour some of the chief architects of the movement. Event will include Playshare.
Dates: 20th  – 21st November

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