UCC Youth Theatre

Department of Theatre hosts Youth Theatre @ 40 - A Youth Theatre Practice Symposium

17 Nov 2020
Department of Theatre is delighted to host Youth Theeatre @ 40 - A Youth Theatre Practice Symposium. 
In partnership with University College Cork, Youth Theatre Ireland will host a 2-day event to mark the organisation’s 40th birthday during which we will explore the evolution of the national development organisation for youth theatre and the youth theatre sector’s creative work with young people over the past four decades and beyond. Participants will have the opportunity to choose from a range of online workshops and thematic sessions and will be invited to join the virtual audience for ARTiculate and Playshare 2020 to celebrate 40 years of writing for youth theatre. 
Don't miss one of the Youth Theatre calendar highlights of 2020!


Symposium tickets are free but you will need to register in advance to attend as spaces are limited. You can register for your tickets on Eventbrite:  https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/youth-theatre-40-a-youth-theatre-practice-symposium-tickets-127202310535 . At the time of registration, you can select which of the four optional workshops (Fri 20th) you would like to attend. Symposium participants will be given an opportunity to select their Sat 21st thematic sessions via email prior to the event.

After registration, Youth Theatre Ireland will email to confirm your booking. In the event that the Symposium is over-subscribed, Youth Theatre Ireland will prioritise those involved in affiliated and developing youth theatres, members, partners and those involved in associated courses.


This online symposium will take place on Zoom. Ticket holders will be notified of zoom meeting / webinar details for individual sessions in advance of the symposium.


The Youth Theatre Practice Symposium is delivered by Youth Theatre Ireland in partnership with the Department of Theatre, University College Cork and is funded by the Arts Council of Ireland and the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth.


Friday 20th November

11.00 – 11.15



Introduction and Welcome

Eoghan Doyle, Youth Theatre Ireland

Fionn Woodhouse, Department of Theatre, UCC

11.15 – 1 pm






Looking back…

Join us for a webinar exploring the foundations and vision for the national youth theatre development organisation with a panel of key figures from the youth theatre movement.

Looking forward…

Where to next on the youth theatre journey? What are the essentials that we carry with us and what new adventures lie ahead for the youth theatre movement? With guest inputs and a panel of youth theatre practitioners and young people, we’ll imagine what lies ahead in the decade to come and explore what we will need as a community to achieve that vision. 

1.00 – 2.30


2.30 – 4.30










Opt-In Workshops

Workshop 1:   Focus Improv

                         Facilitated by Darren Yorke               

Workshop 2:  Creating Ensemble With Chekhov Technique Online 

                         Facilitated by Max Hafler                      

Workshop 3:  Picture the Story

                         Facilitated by Chrissie Poulter                    

Workshop 4:  Writing Young Adults / Young Adults Writing

                         Facilitated by Dylan Coburn Gray

7.00 – 8.00


ARTiculate Sharing and Q&A

Join us for a sharing of new writing from the ARTiculate programme! New writing by former youth theatre members will be performed by actors from the stage and screen. The performance will be followed by a Q&A with young writers, Dylan Coburn Gray, Veronica Coburn and Barry Morgan.


Saturday 21st November                          

10.00 – 10.15

Welcome & Outline of Day 2

10.15 – 11.30

Choose Session 1 or Session 2

Session 1:  Project 2020

With Rhona Dunnett, Research & Development Officer, Youth Theatre Ireland and a panel of youth theatre leaders


Session 2:  Supporting Me to Support Young People

With Donal Scanlan, Manager of Mental Health First Aid Ireland and Louise Holian, Welfare and Child Protection Officer with Youth Theatre Ireland

11.30 – 12.00


12.00 – 1.15 /1.30






Choose Session 3 or Session 4

Session 3:  Digital Futures

With Jo Mangan, theatre/opera/circus director, programmer, Director of Carlow Arts Festival and self-confessed tech nerd (Finish time 1.30)


Session 4: Recharge

With Dave Kelly, National Training Co-ordinator with Youth Theatre Ireland and a panel of youth theatre leaders. (Finish time 1.15)

1.15/1.30 – 2.30


2.30 – 4.00



Playshare 2020

Join Youth Theatre Ireland and a host of youth theatres to celebrate new writing for youth theatre and some of the most loved Playshare texts of the past 40 years.

Performed by: Giant Wolf Youth Theatre (Dublin), Griese Youth Theatre (Kildare), Roscommon County Youth Theatre and Rusty Frog Youth Theatre (West Cork).

4.00 – 4.30

Closing Session


Friday 20th November    2.30 – 4.30 pm

WORKSHOP 1: Focus Improv

Facilitator: Darren Yorke

Put your game face on, get your head in the frame! This session combines a selection of the improv games, exercises, scenes and formats that Grand Stretch have been progressively adapting for platforms like Zoom – playing virtual realities, telling meaningful stories and creating truly momentous experiences online. So, let's put our heads together and make things happen!

This workshop is suitable for all experience levels. No prior improvisation or performance experience of any kind is required. It's all to play for!

WORKSHOP 2: Creating Ensemble with Chekhov Technique Online 

Facilitator: Max Hafler

Through the use of the Michael Chekhov technique, specifically  Form, Atmosphere, Archetypes and Qualities of Movement we shall play with working on the story of King Midas. Michael Chekhov Technique is physical and you will need a reasonable space if possible to work in. It might be good (though not essential) if you are in a room where you can close the curtains (no problem if you cannot do this!). At the end of the session, you will create short sections of the myth in a few groups.

WORKSHOP 3: Picture the Story

Facilitator: Chrissie Poulter

Let’s see what we can come up with, playing in our zoom rooms. Bring a few colourful things – anything from a scarf to a notebook, a teapot or a towel. The colour’s the thing! Adapting some of the games from Playing The Game (e.g. Colour the Story!) this is a workshop looking at what we’re looking at and transforming a social space to a playspace. Breathers will be built in (i.e. cameras off) and fun will be had.

WORKSHOP 4: Writing Young Adults / Young Adults Writing

Facilitator: Dylan Coburn Gray

Through Dylan Coburn Gray's experience of writing Ask Too Much For Me for the 2019 NYT ensemble - as well as working with YTI's inaugural ARTiculate cohort of young writers - this workshop will explore plays by and for young people. How do you write a play that is responsive to young people's particularities, their passions and strengths, but not limited by their limitations? How do you reconcile protective care with developmental care, the duty to not push them too far and the duty to push them? What can a professional writer offer fledgling writers that they can't learn from any one of the million screenwriting books out there? How does a formally experimental playwright teach playwriting without a normative model? Starting from simple exercises and moving into case studies drawn from the work of young writers YTI has encountered over the last two years, participants in this workshop will encounter a model of facilitation which emphasises values and process as the surest - and safest - path to product.


Saturday 21st November

SESSION 1: Project 2020

 The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken up what we know as good youth theatre practice and continues to push us into new worlds of socially distanced and zoom workshops, virtual performances and digital creativity as we work to maintain a creative space for young people. Join Rhona Dunnett (Research and Development Officer with Youth Theatre Ireland) and Fionn Woodhouse (Lecturer, Theatre Department, UCC) and a panel of youth theatre leaders to explore a range of youth theatre projects that responded to the unique challenges of 2020.

SESSION 2:  Supporting Me to Support Young People

As youth theatre leaders, we are the wearers of many different hats. The experience of being everything to everybody in our work and also in our daily life can sometimes take its toll. In this session, join Donal Scanlan, Manager of Mental Health First Aid Ireland and Louise Holian, Welfare and Child Protection Officer with Youth Theatre Ireland, to explore ways in which we can look after our own mental health and wellbeing so that we can be in the best place possible to support the young people we work with. Take a deep breath and find out more about how a first aid approach can help you provide support for others while keeping yourself well and replenished. 

SESSION 3: Digital Futures

A session about all things digital. We have all been forced to think digitally in our day to day lives and in the creation and dissemination of work. This session is facilitated by Jo Mangan, theatre/opera/circus director, programmer and Director of Carlow Arts Festival and self-confessed tech nerd. You will explore many tools to broaden reach and really engage and empower youth groups,  from sidestepping the pitfalls of online broadcast to the thrills of Social Virtual Reality projects. This sharing will prove invaluable for those looking to dust off video camera skills, to those with a desire to push the boundaries of the online or virtual realm. 

SESSION 4: Recharge

How does training influence you and your work as a youth theatre facilitator? What inspires your facilitation practice? Join Dave Kelly, National Training Co-ordinator with Youth Theatre Ireland and a panel of youth theatre facilitators to reflect on the value of training and explore how facilitators keep their work fresh.



Friday 20th November 7.00 – 8.00pm

ARTiculate Sharing and Q&A

The closing event for the first day of our 2020 symposium will be a sharing of new writing selected from the ARTiculate programme. This selection of scenes will be directed by Veronica Coburn and will be performed by actors from the stage and screen.  

For the past nine months, former youth theatre members from around Ireland have been working under the tutelage of Dylan Coburn-Gray as part of the ARTiculate programme to develop their ideas, hone their craft and create new work. By the end of the year there will be twenty-one new plays and this is the first sneak peak of the work.

Following the performances, there will be a Q&A session with some of the participants where we can learn more about their experience throughout the project. The zoom room will stay open afterwards for post-show chats!

Saturday 21st November 2.30 – 4.00pm


Rounding off the Symposium this year, our Playshare event will celebrate the last 40 years of writing for youth theatre.

Spanning four decades and almost 130 plays, youth theatres will be performing extracts from some of the most requested and performed scripts from our Playshare collection. Four plays have been chosen to represent each of the last four decades and include work by some of the pioneers of youth theatre writing, including: Veronica Coburn; Deirdre Molloy; John Morton; and Gerry Stembridge.

Be part of the virtual audience as we bring together four youth theatres from across Ireland for this once-off celebratory performance! 

Join young people from Giant Wolf Youth Theatre (Dublin), Griese Youth Theatre (Kildare), Roscommon County Youth Theatre, Rusty Frog Youth Theatre (Cork) as they use digital skills and platforms to present extracts from some of our most loved plays. 

For more on this story contact:

Fionn Woodhouse


Department of Theatre

Roinn na hAmharclannaíochta

Muskerry Villas, Western Road, Cork City T12 AW97