“Just grow up!”

It is such an interesting phrase. Does it refer to the loss of something, or is it a form of positive evolution? There’s agreement that it’s not an easy process. People who have had to “grow up too fast’ often suffer hardship or trauma. Those who don’t get to be a child are often expected to take on too much responsibility too quickly. But if we take on responsibility too slowly then we are ‘naïve’, ‘immature’ or ‘kidults’.

In ATYP’s 2020 season we are wrestling with the complexities of growing up and growing older. As this century moves out of its teens ATYP is reflecting on what it is to “grow up”. Is the path to adulthood the same as it has always been, or has the process transformed with different rituals, challenges and milestones?

Acclaimed Australian playwright Mary Anne Butler’s powerful exploration of hope and survival CUSP, follows three teenagers on the edge of adult responsibility. With poetic beauty and brutal honesty, this play from Australia’s Top End deals with luck, fate and the responsibility of choice.

The 1s, the 0s, and Everything in Between was co-commissioned by ATYP and Western Australian youth theatre company Riptide back in 2017, working with the exceptional Perth-based playwright Chris Isaacs. Sometimes it’s only when you get to the end of a process you realise you’ve created something quite extraordinary. Chris’ play is a rolling series of moments exploring how technology touches our lives, from a gentle nudge to a blunt slap in the face. Linking young performers from opposite sides of the country, the show opens in Sydney before touring Western Australia.

Lights in the Park won the 2018 Senior ATYP Foundation Commission Award for actors aged 14-17. This beautiful reflection on small town identity was born from a series of workshops with young performers. Writer Alexander Lee-Rekers is fascinated by the complex relationships of young people – with themselves, their parents, their space in the world, their dreams and of course, each other.

2019 Junior ATYP Foundation Commission Award winner, Soul Trading by Kate Walder, offers upper primary and younger secondary years something joyously juicy to sink their imaginations into. What makes us human? If someone looks like you, can learn what you learn, speak like you and care about something or someone, does it matter if they are a machine?

We are delighted to partner again with our friends at Shopfront Youth Co-Op for devised work, The Lies We Were Told. Following her success creating the 2017 Sydney Theatre Award-winning production Dignity of Risk, Natalie Rose is back with a new proposition: What are those moments in our lives that leave us forever changed? For better or worse, what were the fantasies we believed, the misunderstandings that we thought were truths, the lies we were told? With her wicked sense of humour and fearless faith in truth, Natalie will work with a team of young artists to reflect on the moments that age us.

I am delighted to be directing Intersection 2020: Beat in May. This is the first time I’ve had the opportunity to direct this season of short works that are the gems created by some of the nation’s most exciting emerging playwrights following our annual National Studio writing intensive. This collection of plays provides a window into the transition from teenager to young adult. This is your chance to get a sneak peek at the playwrights who will be shaping our industry in years to come.

Of course there is so much more than just the productions. Schools across the country can access our past productions complete with education resources for free through our ATYP On Demand platform. Our popular workshops will run every week of the year in Sydney and across the country. The National Studio will bring together the nation’s leading young playwrights and there is so much more. We look forward to growing a little older with you in 2020.


Fraser Corfield