Not second class theatre: why Australian theatre for young people is at the vanguard of performance-making

Gattenhof, Sandra J. (2007) Not second class theatre: why Australian theatre for young people is at the vanguard of performance-making. In Keynote, Drama Tasmania Conference, 20 April 2007, Hobart, Tas.


John Butler in his 2003 PhD thesis points to the fact that the theatre industry views youth theatre and Theatre for Young People (TYP) as ‘second class’ theatre and that main-stage adult theatre is considered more worthy of attention. Historically the Theatre for Young People sector has been on the margins of recognition. This has not been a bad thing as young people as performance-makers have been enabled to experiment with form, text and performance venue.

Australia currently holds a unique position in the field of Young People’s Theatre. It is one of the few countries to acknowledge and promote, both in policy and practice, the innovative and creative potential of young people.

It is my belief that TYP is a site for theatrical risk-taking. This new generation of performance makers purposely manipulate existing texts from literature, film, television, gaming-culture and infuse them with cultural forms from other times and ethnicities. The resulting product is an interdisciplinary species that challenges the boundaries of past and present, old and new, reverent and irreverent. Young people as artists are reinterpreting what performance is and what it can be.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 7314
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: theatre for Young People, youth performance, youth performativity, contemporary performance
Divisions: Past > Research Centres > ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Past > Institutes > Institute for Creative Industries and Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2007 Sandra Gattenhof
Deposited On: 31 May 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 06 May 2016 03:06

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