͚KEd,,KZ/KE͙͛ YOUTH THEATRE SECTOR SYMPOSIUM 2012 DISCUSSION FEEDBACK
This document provides a summary of group discussions which took place at ^ĐŽƚůĂŶĚ͛Ɛ Youth Theatre Sector Symposium 2012 on Friday 16 November at the Festival Theatre, Edinburgh. The 80 delegates who attended the symposium were split into four discussion groups representing: 1. Freelance practitioners 2.
Independent youth theatres.
Youth theatres affiliated to larger organisations.
Youth theatres affiliated to local authorities or arts trusts.
ĂĐŚŐƌŽƵƉǁĂƐĂƐŬĞĚĂƐĞƌŝĞƐŽĨƋƵĞƐƚŝŽŶƐƌĞůĂƚŝŶŐƚŽWƌŽŵŽƚĞzd͛Ɛdraft Youth Theatre Sector Development Plan 2013-‐2015͕ĂƐƉƌĞƐĞŶƚĞĚďǇWƌŽŵŽƚĞzd͛ƐKͬŝƌĞĐƚŽƌ͕ŽůŝŶƌĂĚŝĞ;ƐĞĞ accompanying PDF document for full details). The draft Youth Theatre Sector Development Plan 2013-‐2015 states the following four aims:
Promote YT aims to: x drive the professional advancement ŽĨ^ĐŽƚůĂŶĚ͛ƐǇŽƵƚŚƚŚĞĂƚƌĞƐĞĐƚŽƌ by designing and delivering practitioner-‐centred learning opportunities; from a nationally accredited qualification to structured and certificated CPD pathways; x raise the profile of youth theatre as an art form by strengthening its credibility withŝŶ^ĐŽƚůĂŶĚ͛Ɛ arts and cultural sectors, and by pioneering high-‐quality platforms for the engagement of new audiences; x inveƐƚŝŶƚŚĞĐƌĞĂƚŝǀĞĨƵƚƵƌĞŽĨ^ĐŽƚůĂŶĚ͛Ɛ young people by working with the sector to provide inspiring ƉĂƌƚŝĐŝƉĂƚŽƌǇĞǆƉĞƌŝĞŶĐĞƐǁŚŝĐŚĚĞǀĞůŽƉǇŽƵŶŐƉĞŽƉůĞ͛s capacity as creative thinkers; and x consolidate and represent ScotlĂŶĚ͛ƐǇŽƵƚŚƚŚĞĂƚƌĞ sector by undertaking comprehensive sector mapping, consultation and review, and by providing central leadership and representation on a regional, national and international level. For each of these four aims, groups were asked to respond to these questions: 1. What is your reaction to this aim? 2.
How is this aim relevant to you and/or your organisation?
What impact would this aim have on your work and/or your practice?
Are there any barriers that would prevent you taking part in the projects related to this aim?
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The following notes summarise the main points made in each group:
Aim 1: Promote YT will drive the professional advancement ŽĨ^ĐŽƚůĂŶĚ͛ƐǇŽƵƚŚƚŚĞĂƚƌĞƐĞĐƚŽƌ x This aim is seen as directly connected to the creative future of our young people. x There is an issue when individuals support the aim, but not necessarily the projects associated to it. x There was a feeling that training future practitioners is less important than CPD for existing practitioners as there is no lack of opportunity to enter the sector. x The new Professional Development Award (PDA) could be a useful mark of quality. x There needs to be a long-‐term commitment to the PDA. x The idea of placements could be useful in potentially fostering links between organisations. x Questions relating to the introduction of the ͚PDA ƌƚƐŝŶĚƵĐĂƚŝŽŶWƌĂĐƚŝĐĞ͛ included:
¾ Is this PDA duplicating schemes which already exist?
Promote YT says: Our annual Review of Youth Theatre in Scotland has revealed that an increasing number of young people who have been involved in youth theatre as participants are now aspiring to work professionally in the sector. Although youth theatre delivery has achieved status as a credible arts profession, there are currently no accredited educational opportunities in Scotland to support this. Additional research, carried out by Promote YT, has confirmed that there exists a gap in accredited work-‐based training provision in Scotland for those who want to work in youth theatre delivery. While there are currently a limited number of accredited training opportunities at HNC/D or Degree level to study theatre in participatory contexts, none of the available courses offer a particular focus on youth theatre settings.
¾ Do we need another accreditation?
Promote YT says: /ŶƚŚĞƌĞĐĞŶƚƌƚǁŽƌŬƐ͞Skillset Research and Gap Analysis for Artists Working
in Participatory Settings Phase 2 Final Report͟ƚŚĞĨŽůůŽǁŝŶŐǁĂƐŝĚĞŶƚŝĨŝĞĚ͗
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Individuals who have been involved in youth theatre as participants now want to progress to working professionally in the youth theatre sector. Although it has become a credible profession, at present there are no accredited educational opportunities in Scotland to support this. ͞dŚĞŽŶůǇƐĐŚŽŽůƐƚŚĂƚĐĂŶŚĞůƉŵĞŝŶĂĐŚŝĞǀĞŝŶŐŵǇĚƌĞĂŵĂƌĞŝŶŶŐůĂŶĚ͘ /ůŽǀĞ^ĐŽƚůĂŶĚďƵƚƚŚĞůĂĐŬŽĨŽƉƉŽƌƚƵŶŝƚǇŵĞĂŶƚ/ŚĂĚƚŽŵŽǀĞƚŽŐĞƚƚŚĞďĞƐƚĐŚĂŶĐĞƚŽƐƚƵĚǇ͘͞ -‐ Former youth theatre participant and 1st year undergraduate student ¾ Where will the PDA take place?
Promote YT says: Six host partner youth theatres across Scotland will provide a 10-‐month placement for an aspiring practitioner. Venues will include: the partner youth theatre, Promote YT, Edinburgh and Adam Smith College, Fife. ¾ Who is the PDA aimed at?
Promote YT says: In the pilot year (2014/2015) we will target young people up to the age of 25 who have the aspiration to become youth theatre practitioners. By equipping young professionals with high level skills in youth theatre delivery, they will be able to go on practice their craft to the highest standard in regional youth theatres across Scotland. This will in turn increase the quality of youth theatre experience and performance, fulfilling WƌŽŵŽƚĞzd͛Ɛ development aims of investing in the creative future of ^ĐŽƚůĂŶĚ͛ƐǇŽƵŶŐƉĞŽƉůĞ and raising the profile of youth theatre as an art form. The following diagram demonstrates how this opportunity fits in to the ͚bigger picture͛:
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¾ Is the level right?
Promote YT says: dŚĞW͕ǁŝƚŚƚŚĞĂĚĚŝƚŝŽŶĂůƵŶŝƚŽĨ͚ĐƌĞĂƚŝŶŐĚĞǀŝƐĞĚƚŚĞĂƚƌĞ͛, will be validated by Adam Smith College, Fife and levelled at the Scottish Credit Qualifications Framework (SCQF) level 7, equivalent to HNC or the first year of a Scottish undergraduate degree. The PDA will provide the aspiring practitioner with: 9 A fully accredited Professional Development Award
9 A 10-‐month paid work placement in an established youth theatre organisation
9 Two residential training weekends
9 Study visits to observe the working practice of the five additional youth theatre organisations also hosting a PDA student
9 A platform to share their final piece of devised theatre at the National Festival of Youth Theatre
9 KŶĞǇĞĂƌ͛ƐŵĞŵďĞƌƐŚŝƉWƌŽŵŽƚĞzdon completion of the PDA ¾ Is there a cost attached to participating in the PDA if so, who is responsible for meeting this cost?
Promote YT says: We anticipate there will be no fee payable by the learner on the basis they have not already achieved an undergraduate degree. This is something out with Promote YT. ¾ How flexible is the structure and content of the PDA? Can large organisations help to shape this?
Promote YT says: The PDA consists of the following three units:
Unit one: Preparing to Deliver Art Form Development Sessions
Unit two: Assist Individuals to Experience Art Form Practices
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Unit three (work based): Arts Education in Practice: Monitor, Evaluate and Develop Practice
Additional unit: Creating Devised Theatre
ŶĂĚĚŝƚŝŽŶĂůƵŶŝƚ͕͞ĐƌĞĂƚŝŶŐĚĞǀŝƐĞĚƚŚĞĂƚƌĞ͕͟will also be added to provide aspiring practitioners with the foundations in the devising process to support their creative and artistic understandings of how to do this in a group setting. It is our objective that the partner youth theatre will share their working practice and mentor their aspiring practitioner accordingly through the work-‐ďĂƐĞĚƵŶŝƚ͕͞Monitor, Evaluate and Develop Practice͘͟ In addition we aim for each organisation will host a study day to allow the other five learners the ŽƉƉŽƌƚƵŶŝƚǇƚŽƐĞĞĂŶĚƵŶĚĞƌƐƚĂŶĚƚŚĞŝƌǇŽƵƚŚƚŚĞĂƚƌĞ͛ƐǁŽƌŬĨŝƌƐƚŚĂŶĚ͘ We plan to research and develop the PDA through discussions with both the wider sector and youth theatre participants throughout 2013/14 with a view to deliver a pilot 2014/15 x The option of a set route through SKILL UP is potentially not useful. It is good to be able to pick and choose workshops. x A new structure for SKILL UP is a great opportunity. x A set CDP pathway through SKILL UP is very important and supports those in the profession. x Workshops facilitated by international guests are an important element of SKILL UP. x It is particularly relevant to have structured training opportunities within a profession which is largely freelance. x The SPARK COLLECTIVE provides year-‐round CPD opportunities. x The increased SKILL UP fee could prevent freelance practitioners attending the event. £140 in 2013 (as opposed to £110 in 2012) is too much.
Aim 2: Promote YT will raise the profile of youth theatre as an art form x The proposal of CHRYSALIS ʹ festival of emerging talent is the most important element of the Sector Development Plan as it would gain respect for youth theatre as a discipline and an art form and offer aspiring young artists a unique opportunity on an international platform. It would also celebrate and acknowledge innovation in youth theatre. x In principle it is a good thing to promote quality work and to open it up to a wider, more mainstream audience. x CHYRYSALIS could provide a bridge for young artist to move from youth theatre into a professional career. x ,Zz^>/^ĐŽƵůĚƐŽŵĞŚŽǁƌĞƉůŝĐĂƚĞƚŚĞ͚DĂĚĞŝŶ^ĐŽƚůĂŶĚ͛ŵŽĚĞůǁŝƚŚƉĞƌĨŽƌŵĂŶĐĞƐĐƵƌĂƚĞĚďǇĂ programming panel.
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x An age range for CHRYSALIS of 16-‐21 would make sense. x Raising the profile of the art form will increase the validity of the profession and this aim is broadly ŐŽŽĚĂƐĂĐŽŵƉŽŶĞŶƚŽĨWƌŽŵŽƚĞzd͛ƐǁŝĚĞƌƐƚƌĂƚĞŐǇ͘ x How does Promote YT propose to support ongoing work? x Questions relating to CHRYSALIS included:
¾ Where will it take place?
Promote YT says: The main aim of CHRYSALIS is to introduce innovative youth theatre work to new audiences. On this basis we are looking for a venue partner for the pilot of CHRYSALIS in autumn 2013. The venue should have a proven appetite for new work and an understanding of its role in supporting and championing innovation from groups and artists across artistic and generational boundaries. ¾ What will the age range be?
Promote YT says: The age range is likely to be 16-‐21. ¾ Why will there be an age limit?
Promote YT says: Due to venue licensing restrictions. ¾ Will more high-‐profile work have more of a chance of being selected than smaller-‐scale work?
Promote YT says: All work will be considered, however a key factor for selection will be innovation. ¾ How, and by whom will it be curated?
Promote YT says: In its pilot year, the CHYRYSALIS programme will be decided by an independent panel of specialists ¾ Can the sector be involved in the selection process?
Promote YT says: Not on this occasion. ¾ If your youth theatre is not selected, does this mean that you are not producing quality work?
Promote YT says: No. The CHRYSALIS programme will be intentionally limited (especially in the pilot year) with the aim of presenting a snapshot of what the youth theatre sector produces. It is more about innovation and risk-‐ ƚĂŬŝŶŐƚŚĂŶ͚ƋƵĂůŝƚǇ͛͘ ¾ Will NFYT become the poor cousin to CHRYSALIS?
Promote YT says: No. These are different events, aimed at different audiences. NFYT will always provide an open performance platform with the aim of peer-‐to-‐peer sharing, learning and socialising. CHRYSALIS will be targeting new audiences with the aim of raising the profile of youth theatre as an art form. ¾ Could CHYSALIS change the focus and aspirations of YTs?
Promote YT says: We hope that every performance experience will increase the aspirations of a youth theatre group.
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¾ Would performers be paid?
Promote YT says: No, however we hope to cover participation expenses. ¾ Is too much value being placed on something which may become elitist?
Promote YT says: CHRYSALIS will be incorporated into WƌŽŵŽƚĞzd͛Ɛ wider programme of work. While the individual objectives of each element of this programme (as detailed above in our Sector Development Plan) are different, they all contribute in equal measure and with equal value towards our ongoing purpose of supporting and developing youth theatre in Scotland. ¾ Could lower age groups be incorporated after the first, pilot year?
Promote YT says: Yes, subject to venue restrictions. ¾ Will raising the profile of the art form overtake developing young people?
Promote YT says: We do not regard these aims as mutually exclusive and they are both of equal importance to Promote YT.
Aim 3: Promote YT will invest in thĞĐƌĞĂƚŝǀĞĨƵƚƵƌĞŽĨ^ĐŽƚůĂŶĚ͛Ɛ young people x Investing in the creative future of your young people is the most important element of the Sector Development Plan but critical development is equally as important as creative development. x /ƚ͛ƐŝŵƉŽƌƚĂŶƚƚŽŝnvest in the creative future of our young people to help them develop their own identities and self-‐confidence. x Is this about all young people or just those who want to perform? Should it read ͚͙ŝŶǀĞƐƚŝŶƚŚĞ ĐƌĞĂƚŝǀĞĨƵƚƵƌĞŽĨĂůů^ĐŽƚůĂŶĚ͛ƐǇŽƵŶŐƉĞŽƉůĞ͛? x Questions relating to the NATIONAL FESTIVAL OF YOUTH THEATRE (NFYT included:
¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾
How will performances be selected? Should the age limit be reduced? Should Promote YT make decisions on age-‐appropriate material? Could CPD sessions for group leaders be introduced? As a freelancer working with more than one YT, how do you decide which group to take?
x Being able to see every performance (as opposed to having to choose) would be preferable. x Being able to participate in NFYT without the pressure of taking a performance is a good thing. x Introducing scratch-‐style performances is a good idea. x Formal feedback for the young people would be preferable to an open forum on Facebook. x The agenda and priorities of individual employers may prevent freelance practitioners from engaging with NFYT. x There are significant financial and time implications for youth theatres from more geographically
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remote regions (e.g. the Highlands) to attend NFYT. This may prove a barrier to engagement. x A lack of support from managers in local authorities to take groups to NFYT is a barrier to engagement.
Aim 4: Promote YT will ĐŽŶƐŽůŝĚĂƚĞĂŶĚƌĞƉƌĞƐĞŶƚ^ĐŽƚůĂŶĚ͛ƐǇŽƵƚŚƚŚĞĂƚƌĞ sector x It is essential that our sector has a united voice and that we shout loudly about all our achievements. x WƌŽŵŽƚĞzdĂĚĚƐǀĂůƵĞŚĞƌĞǁŚĞƌĞŝŶĚŝǀŝĚƵĂůǇŽƵƚŚƚŚĞĂƚƌĞƐĂŶĚĨƌĞĞůĂŶĐĞƉƌĂĐƚŝƚŝŽŶĞƌƐĐĂŶ͛ƚ͘ x Promote YT has an important role to play in representation, lobbying and advocacy (with Creative Scotland and the Scottish Government). x Sector mapping is less immediately valuable to the sector than it is to Promote YT but it was acknowledged that it is crucial to achieving aims 1 and 2. x It would be helpful to know the questions for the annual Youth Theatre Sector Survey in advance to allow time to collate the information required. x The questions in the annual Youth Theatre Sector Survey are aimed at youth theatre managers and so can be difficult to answer if this is not your role. x There needs to be further promotion of the youth theatre sector within the further education sector. x There are significant financial and time implications for youth theatre representatives from more geographically remote regions (e.g. the Highlands) to attend the Sector Symposium. This may prove a barrier to engagement. And finally, each group was asked:
Has Promote YT missed anything in its Sector Development Plan? x dŚĞƉŽƚĞŶƚŝĂůŽĨWƌŽŵŽƚĞzdĨĂĐŝůŝƚĂƚŝŶŐĂ͚zd:Žď^ǁĂƉ͛ƐĐŚĞŵĞďŽƚŚǁŝƚŚŝŶ^ĐŽƚůĂŶĚĂŶĚ internationally. x Setting up more platforms (possibly digitally) to facilitate networking. x ŶĂĐĐĞƐƐĨƵŶĚƚŽƐƵƉƉŽƌƚǇŽƵƚŚƚŚĞĂƚƌĞƐƚŽƚƌĂǀĞůƚŽƐĞĞĞĂĐŚŽƚŚĞƌ͛ƐǁŽƌŬ͘ x More platforms and funds to enable cross-‐organisational working opportunities. x Access. x Sharing work digitally. x There was an acknowledgement that Promote YT needs to manage its resources and priorities. Page 8 of 9
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SECTOR SYMPOSIUM 2012 Feedback from Group Discussions