Posted By MatthewWoodford
Posted on: April 8, 2016

Young Audiences: Who Cares?


Young Audiences: Who Cares? is a series of podcasts, which investigates key issues around creating work for and by children and young people.

It’s a chance for theatre-makers, funders and producers to share, debate and discuss the challenges of developing TYA – and how they might be overcome. The series will offer essential practical information, with real world case studies on contemporary artists. In each episode, we will be inspired by some of the leading creative practice in this field.

The aim is to start a national and international dialogue about best practice, innovation and the future direction of theatre created for and with young people. As part of the project, Intrepid Ensemble and Pleasance Theatre hosted a lively debate with some leading theatre-makers in the industry. 


Episode one: How to help young companies be bold and take risks?
June 15th 2016

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.

Episode Two: The art of the Arts Council Application, with Jake Orr.


For the last three years, Incoming Festival has served up 10 packed days of emerging companies, innovative performance and high-quality workshops. This year is no different and kicks off on the 24th July 2016 (we are particularly looking forward to Theseus Beefcake by Panic Lab and  Ross and Rachel by MOTOR ) The festival has been successful in receiving it’s third round of Arts Council funding – meaning that artists get paid both a fee and a box office split. This is good for artists (we love to be paid) and great for audiences – tickets are all only £5, with the aim of encouraging audiences who are usually put off by the price tag. Public funding has clearly helped make Incoming Festival a success: but in a time of cuts, is it still possible to get funding? And where to start with the dreaded Grants for Arts application?

The Odyssey by The Sleeping Trees as part of Incoming Festival Photo Credit: ©Richard Davenport 2015,, 07545642134

The Odyssey by The Sleeping Trees as part of Incoming Festival
Photo Credit: ©Richard Davenport 2015,,

In the second episode of Young Audiences: Who Cares? we talk to the co-founder of Incoming Festival Jake Orr about funding for the arts and specifically the Arts Council Grants for Arts application. If you are in the process of applying for your first grant – the podcast is a must listen! 

“Be really confident in what you’re doing… Make sure that at no point people are left with question marks, because that will go against you.”

Jake talks us through: 

How to apply for Grants for Arts? 
Where to go for additional funding? 
What is support in kind and what does it include?
Whats the main pieces of advice you’d give?
What are the biggest mistakes when people come to write their application?
How much should I pay artists?

If you’re successful
What happens if circumstances change?
Where to start with evaluation?
How can you continue your relationship with the arts council?

And finally – what happens if you’re unsuccessful?

Take a listen:

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