Australian Youth Theatre Practice in 1988

Ian Chance’s national review of youth theatre practice in late 1988 provided a host of snapshots of youth theatre practice. Practitioners detailed their work at companies like: La Boite and Central Queensland Youth Theatre (Qld); Gove Junior Theatre in Nhulunbuy, Arnhem Land (NT); Canberra Youth Theatre (ACT); Shopfront, PACT, Powerhouse, Elanora, ATYP and Newcastle’s 2 Til 5 Youth Theatres (NSW); St Martins Youth Theatre (Vic); Youth Theatre 2000, Burnie (Tas); Unley Youth Theatre, Cirkidz and Port Adelaide Youth Theatre (SA); and Youth Theatre Co at Subiaco Theatre Centre (WA). He painted a vivid picture of the current scene:

‘More and more we find first generation youth theatre members, having completed advanced theatre training, returning to the fold to nurture the next generation. And we find highly skilled theatre workers, disillusioned with foyer culture and craving a cutting edge, prepared to dedicate their craft at discount to the fresh enthusiasms and outspoken creativity of young people.

‘For youth theatre is a movement at whose nexus is the development of confident socialisation and an independent voice in all its participants. This comes about as the natural outcome of a style which focuses on the “process” of developing dramatic communication skills rather than the “product” of staging them. Through their growing awareness young people soon realise their power within this process and are quick to demand a say in it – and such demands cannot be denied without negating the entire experience.’

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