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Introducing the National Youth Performing Arts Connection Program

The professional youth performing arts sector creates work with, for and by young people, reaching, involving and impacting a breadth of youth, preschool to aged 26, in city centres, suburbs and rural and remote regions of Australia. We are the dedicated Australian companies making arts visible and relevant in the everyday life of families and communities, bringing original, youth-centred arts practice to local venues, arts centres, festivals and schools.

Our national youth performing arts group is made up of small to medium-sized professional theatre, puppetry, circus, dance and cross-arts companies that are responsible for some of the most community-centric, responsive education, training and performance programs available in our Australian arts sector.

Intrinsically collaborative, we frequently connect with one another and with educators and researchers in our primary, secondary and tertiary sectors, with youth service groups and health experts, with State bodies and local councils, with private and corporate donors, with national peak arts bodies and with eminent and experienced performing artists and teaching artists. Through these partnerships, and through reliable and often long-term intersections with a large network of young people, we create live and online professional arts education programs, workshop training and new Australian content commissioning, development and performance. Partnerships allow for the development of professional, consultative, youth-centred work with high levels of engagement and impact tracking, and they enable targeted reach into demographics such as disadvantaged students and marginalised young people.

When we’re not showcasing work locally, regionally or interstate, some companies present internationally to great acclaim. This further elevates the reputation of Australian creativity on a global scale and shares our stories and perspectives with young audiences and families across the world.

The great span of our work feeds into community and commercial youth arts practice, into the broader adult creative workforce, and into the huge body of Australian cultural consumers and participants who will spend a lifetime searching out, appreciating and supporting vibrant, accessible and relevant creative engagement opportunities. Professional youth arts companies feed the roots of an essential arts ecosystem that continually enriches personal, educational and social outcomes, community attractiveness, cohesion and tourism, and widespread cultural positivity, prospects and prosperity.

At a time of recovery for a generation of young Australians, the professional youth performing arts sector is a nation-wide, mobilised resource of accomplished ‘engagement experts’ ready to be further utilised. With vital, responsive investment and partnerships, we can use this critical time ahead to articulate our unique and important stories, re-establish strong pathways towards personal, educational and social success and contribute to re-building a national culture of connectivity, creativity and confidence.

ATYP is enormously grateful to the Ian Potter Foundation for its support in establishing the current National Youth Performing Arts Connections Program, giving our company the capacity to advocate for better government support. ATYP also acknowledges the support of Create NSW through the Service Needs Strategic Fund which will enable the sector to come together in 2022.

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