Posted By MatthewWoodford
Posted on: June 15, 2016

Posted in: Blog, Intrepid Ensemble News

Tags: , , , , ,

How to help young companies take risks and be bold?


Taking your very first steps in the industry as a company can be an altogether terrifying experience. For the last eight years, the International Youth Arts Festival (or IYAF) has provided a relatively risk free environment for young people and emerging companies to make theatre. This year is no different, with a diverse programme of work including; Rite of Passage, a verbatim piece exploring masculinity, Lights Out, an immersive show for under 5’s, and our very own Jellyfish.

In the first episode of our podcast series Young Audiences: Who Cares? we spoke to the new festival director, Andy Currums, about how IYAF is encouraging the development of emerging companies. What kind of environment does he think helps to create brave, young theatre makers?

“The thing I regret about my first year out of Uni is that I was a bit shy creatively. I didn’t want to take risks, I didn’t want to put ideas out there. I was so worried they were going to be shot down.” For him, the thing that sets IYAF apart from other festivals is that it’s a place where emerging performers can explore “unbridled creativity”, and potentially fail, whilst taking their first tentative steps within the industry. “They aren’t worried yet about business decisions. They aren’t worried about how to market it to an audience. They’ve just got something they’ve got to say, and they’ve got to get it out there.”

Since the festivals launch, more than 25,000 young people have participated in the festival as artists, project managers and volunteers. Clearly for Andy, the festival should be judged in terms of participation – success for him is the process of getting all those young people involved in theatre making. “Much like a young football team, the people taking part might not actually go on to be a director or performer… But the skills you learn there – working in a team, working on your own, coming up with ideas, being able to criticize yourself and other people’s work constructively – are so so key.”

Andy’s message is clear: the International Youth Arts Festival is a place to take risks and be bold. Listen to the full audio of the podcast below.

For more information on Young Audiences: Who Cares?, click here.