The Young Critics Programme is part of Youth Theatre Ireland’s commitment to developing youth theatre members’ awareness and appreciation of the aesthetic of theatre.
ABOUT YOUNG CRITICS
Young Critics is one of Youth Theatre Ireland's longest-running and most innovative programmes. Over 300 young people have taken part in our Young Critics' programmes since 2004. These include young people from all across Ireland, as well as Northern Ireland, Great Britain, and as far away as Austria and Norway.
Celebrating its twentieth year in 2023, the Young Critics programme blends the best of online working, in-person workshops, and the magic of seeing live theatre in a packed auditorium once again.
Over six months, the Young Critics participate in online workshops, visit Cork and Dublin for incredible meet ups, see some amazing shows, make new friends and learn the art of theatre criticism.
It is open to youth theatre members who are interested in watching theatre, discovering how and why theatre is made, and learning how to critically discuss, analyse, and review this work.
During the programme, young people see quality productions while developing their critical skills under the mentorship of international theatre critic and academic, Dr. Karen Fricker, and Youth Theatre Ireland’s National Programme Co-Ordinator Rebecca Feely.
The programme culminates with The Young Critics Panel each October as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival.
Along the way, participants connect with other young people from across Ireland, make new friends, have fun and have some life changing experiences.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING THE YOUNG CRITICS?
The Young Critics meet over a series of online workshops and for three action-packed meet ups in Cork and Dublin. Here's an example of our 2023 programme:
- Saturday May 27th: Online Workshop, 3pm - 5pm.
- Thursday June 1st: Online Participant & Parent Evening, 7pm.
- Wednesday June 21st – Friday June 23rd: 3 Residential Days at Cork Midsummer Festival.
- Saturday August 19th: Full day in Dublin (non-residential)
- Saturday September 16th: Online Workshop, 3pm - 5pm.
- Friday Oct 6th – Sunday Oct 8th: 3 Residential Days at Dublin Theatre Festival.
Don’t take our word for it. See what 2019 Young Critic Jessie has to say about the programme here.
To see the Young Critics in action, check out the Young Critics Panel from 2021
HOW DO I APPLY TO TAKE PART IN YOUNG CRITICS?
Participation in the programme is free: all costs are covered by Youth Theatre Ireland. This includes theatre tickets, accommodation, travel, and meals.
It is open to youth theatre members are aged 16 - 21. We are looking for young people who are comfortable staying away from home and meeting new people, working in a highly focused way, and are willing to share their thoughts and opinions in a group setting. A love of theatre and an enthusiasm for engaging with digital tools are a bonus.
We will provide you with all the skills and tools needed to take part fully in the programme. To be a Young Critic you must be available for all the dates listed above.
Applications for 2024 will open early next year.
To offer individual advice and guidance on developing each young person's critical skills, places on the programme are limited number of places are available. All applications will be considered fairly and be representative of Youth Theatre Ireland’s membership nationwide.
The 2023 Young Critics
We kicked off the year at Cork Midsummer Festival from the 21st to the 23rd of June.
The Young Critics saw three shows over the Cork Midsummer Festival: Trojans, by Phillip Connaughton; FreeFalling by Georgina Miller; and The Four Lovers, by The Circus Factory. This experience culminated in a public panel hosted at Cork Arts Theatre, where our youth theatre members presented their opinions and views to the public.
We open applications early in the year. You must be a current member of a youth theatre that is affiliated to Youth Theatre Ireland and aged between 16 and 21. You are asked to submit a short review of a production you have attended. A limited number of participants are chosen.
Watch below as Kate Moore from Free Radicals Youth Theatre in County Kerry reflects on her experience of the first residential for Young Critics in April 2018.
Young Critics culminates with a panel discussion that is programmed as part of the annual Dublin Theatre Festival.