Research reveals positive impact of youth theatre on young Australians

ATYP is committed to improving the lives of all young Australians through the positive impacts that participation in drama has on young people and their mental health. In 2017, we engaged research agency Patternmakers to evaluate: “What impact, if any, participation in theatre has on the mental health of young people”. Patternmakers surveyed over 1,200 current and past ATYP participants across three tiers of evaluation – a brief on-line survey; a detailed questionnaire; and in-depth interviews. It was one of the largest objective surveys of its type ever conducted in Australia. The results are astonishing:

  • 94% identified a positive impact on their overall wellbeing
  • 88% identified improved ability to work in a team
  • 80% identified an improvement to interpersonal skills
  • 73% articulated that activites enabled them to tell their story
  • 71% identified increased resilience in coping with challenges
  • 52% identified improved anxiety levels

But how is ATYP creating these results? The research found in the qualitative and quantitative data a number of underlying drivers of impact:

  • Safe space – creating an environment where young people can experiment
  • Vibrant atmosphere – ATYP’s buzzing venues and proximity to other arts organisations
  • Student-led approach – empowering young people with creative control
  • Calibre of tutors – recruiting theatre professionals to share their passion
  • Making work by, and for, young people – creating new work with an authentic voice
  • National reach – creating opportunities across Australia

It further states that “many of these attributes are common in other youth arts companies, which suggests that the impacts occurring across the arts sector and the country could be profound”.

Already this report is demonstrating the impact of our company is far greater than we had originally believed. It is greatly informing company decision making, and prompting us to undertake further research.

For more information, you can access the full report here.