So often in theatre we have to make positive changes incrementally, leveraging small developments with limited resources to edge the company forward. Sure we can have a bold vision, but we need a series of small methodical steps to realise it.
This year we launch a vision that has been a decade in the making. Since 2010, ATYP has been producing at least one show in every season that features young artists performing in fully professional productions. These shows have won critical acclaim and toured across Australia and internationally. They have entertained tens of thousands of people and inspired new generations of artists and audiences. In the process, the company has won Helpmann, AWGIE, Sidney Myer and Sydney Theatre Awards for artistic excellence.
In 2022 we offer you a world-first – a season of fully professional youth theatre productions. Each play in the season gives us the experiences of young people, performed by extraordinary young artists, working in partnership with industry leaders. Australia’s oldest youth theatre company is the country’s newest professional theatre company.
So who are these shows for? They are for audiences aged 13 and above. These are productions for people that want to go to the theatre with a friend, a parent, a grandparent or all of the above. They are plays for an audience that wants to see young talent in sophisticated stories that make us laugh, make us think, make us feel a connection across generations.
I need to warn you though, these are not plays for children. They are funny, cheeky, joyous, heartbreaking and bold … but they are not always polite, they are rarely well behaved and they can make you blush.
We are premiering a new Australian musical, The Deb, by the exceptionally talented (and very funny) Hannah Reilly and Megan Washington. I’m thrilled to be bringing back one of our most successful productions, the intergenerational dance party that is M.Rock by Lachlan Philpott, featuring the magnificent Valerie Bader. There’s a co-production with New Zealand’s Auckland Theatre Company, presenting the world premiere of The Resistance by Kip Chapman. I am getting to revisit the contemporary classic that dissects teenage crime and punishment in A Clockwork Orange: A Play with Music. Then we finish the year with an adaptation of Favel Parrett’s haunting Tasmanian novel Past the Shallows, adapted by Julian Larnach and presented in partnership with Tasmanian theatre company Archipelago Productions.
ATYP’s new home in the iconic Walsh Bay Arts Precinct offers a destination for youth theatre in Australia. From our new home we are very proud to be connecting with theatre companies, schools, and communities across the country. In addition to the season of mainstage works, we continue to host school holiday programs for young people wanting to work with leading professional artists.
Our digital classroom, ATYP On Demand, provides free access to teachers, school and university students around the country, while On Demand Plus gives primary school teachers the opportunity to use drama to teach areas of the core curriculum.
This year we ask all Australians to have a fresh look at your national youth theatre company as we take our place amongst Australia’s flagship companies. In the shadow of the harbour bridge, on a pier over the land and waters of the Gadigal people, we create space for young people to take the stage and inspire all Australians.
We look forward to welcoming you to our new home in 2022.