If not now…
Something remarkable has been happening in theatre in the UK, but barely registering a blip on the radar. Let’s call it Inclusive Theatre for Young Audiences (Inclusive TYA) for now – perhaps a better term will emerge later.
The lack of proper recognition for this work should come as no surprise. Firstly, the work is for children and young people: a Cinderella sector that is often denigrated as the first rung on the career ladder or, conversely, a career cul de sac. Then, the work is about disability, so it’s easily dismissed as worthy: an instrument of social change lacking the “excellence” of the mainstream or the “innovation” of experimental work. But a closer look reveals that not only is Inclusive TYA exciting and innovatory, it’s also an area where the UK is leading the world.
So, what can be done to shine a light on this area of excellence? How can future artists be inspired? How can it reach bigger audiences? What international connections can be made? And how can we be ambitious about it in Austerity Britain?
How this report has come about?
This report was commissioned by TYA-UK as a result of the work of a voluntary steering group, chaired by Daryl Beeton of Kazzum and produced by Vicky Ireland of TYA UK, that produced the Whose Theatre Is It Anyway? day at the ASSITEJ 2011 Festival in Copenhagen/Malmö.
The steering group, supported by an Arts Council Grants for the Arts award, spent a year putting together
presentations and workshops to engage TYA colleagues from across the globe with the potential for inclusive work.
The steering group, however, asked me to write a complementary report that reviewed the strategic importance of Inclusive TYA and looked to the future. The aims of this report, then, are to comment from a UK perspective and to raise key issues so that we can build on successes and develop Inclusive TYA from a position of strength, both in the UK and globally …
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