Theatre for Young Audiences in Ireland

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This chapter examines the developing sector of Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) from its roots in educational theatre for children in the 1970s and 1980s through companies like TEAM, Graffiti and Replay into one of the most innovative and flourishing fields of contemporary theatrical practice across the island. The argument is that as a sector and field of practice TYA continues to resist nationalist imperatives through its aesthetic practices and organisational structures. TYA performances are always resolutely ‘local’ in their engagement with specific audiences. This is most obviously articulated in the specific touring circuits for performances; the development of festivals for children arts in Dublin and in a number of regional cities; and in the creation of specialist venues for children’s arts and theatre. At the same time, the sector is characterised by direct engagement with models of practice which are shared widely internationally, producing aesthetic forms the lineage of which owes little to specifically Irish theatrical traditions, whether that be the TiE models adapted from the UK or approaches to visual theatre or modes of performance adopted from continental Europe; or texts that have been adapted, translated or imported. Critical to this is the function of the international dimension of children's festivals in Ireland and abroad in showcasing and sharing theatrical practices and issues. In this sense then, this sector of irish theatre serves to work against the sense of ‘Irishness’ as a globalised commodity and the function of theatre to reflect national rather than local concerns.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook of Contemporary Irish Theatre and Performance
EditorsEamonn Jordan, Eric Weitz
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)978-1-137-58587-5
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 7 Oct 2018


  • Theatre for Young Audiences
  • Irish Theatre
  • Festivals


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