1st Edition

The Routledge Companion to Theatre and Young People

Edited By Selina Busby, Kelly Freebody, Charlene Rajendran Copyright 2023
    594 Pages 17 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    594 Pages 17 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This companion interrogates the relationship between theatre and youth from a global perspective, taking in performances and theatre made by, for, and about young people.

    These different but interrelated forms of theatre are addressed through four critical themes that underpin the ways in which analysis of contemporary theatre in relation to young people can be framed: political utterances – exploring the varied ways theatre becomes a platform for political utterance as a process of dialogic thinking and critical imagining; critical positioning – examining youth theatre work that navigates the sensitive, dynamic, and complex terrains in which young people live and perform; pedagogic frames – outlining a range of contexts and programmes in which young people learn to make and understand theatre that reflects their artistic capacities and aesthetic strategies; applying performance – discussing a range of projects and companies whose work has been influential in the development of youth theatre within specific contexts.

    Providing critical, research-informed, and research-based discussions on the intersection between young people, their representation, and their participation in theatre, this is a landmark text for students, scholars, and practitioners whose work and thinking involves theatre and young people.

    1. Introduction

    Selina Busby, Kelly Freebody and Charlene Rajendran

    Part 1: Political Utterances

    2. Bodyliness in European applied theatre projects. Reflecting on the importance of inviting the body to the Workshop’s Room

    Gabriel Vivas-Martínez

    Reflection 1: On the Importance of Big Umbrellas: Applied Theatre as a Hopeful Practice in Precarious Times

    Kathleen Gallagher.

    3. Becoming Giants: Towards Oceania Through Mastery of Bodily Skills and Techniques.

    Peilin Liang

    4. Navigating Adultism in Critical Youth Theatre Practice

    Matthew Elliot

    Reflection 2: We are Still Here and Why We Do Theatre

    Mardin Mahmoudpour

    5. The Manipulation of Mowgli: Performing Youth, Deconstructing Racialization, and Tracing Imperialism in The Jungle Book.

    Asif Majid

    6. Shakespeare Youth Performance Festivals as Spaces for Postcolonial Restorying

    Jennifer Kitchen

    Reflection 3: What defines the dramaturgy of Young Peoples Theatre (YPYT) And who defines it?

    Janet Pillai

    7. Performing Violence, devising Futures? Performance with and by Young People in Rwanda and Uganda

    Hope Azeda, Lillian Mbabazi, and Bobby Smith

    Reflection 4: Theatre to Raise a Village.

    Patrick Alesana, Irene Folau, Agnes Milford, et al.

    8. Scotland’s Youth Theatre and Drama Sector.

    William D Barlow and Douglas Irvine

    Part 2: Critical Positioning

    9. Arena Theatre Company: Making theatre with young people as a methodology for making theatre for young people

    Meg Upton, Richard Sallis, Christian Leavesley, et al.

    Reflection 5: Theatre Makes Me Think Again

    Kirubael Alebachew.

    10. ‘Home Grown' Productions for Their Own Young People: Researching Community Theatre Groups in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa

    Emma Durden

    11. Re-thinking "theatre" during social distancing: How Cosmic Kids Yoga got us through a pandemic.

    Dani Snyder-Young, with Des Bennett, Anna Birnholz et al.

    12. Theatre of Hope: PaGaSa in the Praxis of Youth Advocates Through Theatre Arts (YATTA)

    Dessa Quesada Palm and Jazmin Llana

    13. Trials and Tribulations: Creating Theatre for Young Audiences With or Without Youth 

    David Montgomery, Gina L. Grandi, Teresa A. Fisher et al. 

    Reflection 6: At the Water’s Edge: Theatre as a Space for Reflection

    Theo Chen.

    14. Between Past and Future: Edward Bond and he Representation of Adolescent Crisis

    Martin Heaney

    15. The Imagined Child Onstage: Theatrical Depictions of Parental Grief during Transition for Youth on the Autism Spectrum

    Molly Mattaini

    Reflection 7: Theatre: the humanizing social metaphor.

    Sanjoy Ganguly

    16. Access to Theatre for Young People in India: Thespo’s Journey through Change and Challenge from 1999 to 2021

    Srishti Ray and Srividya

    17. Verbatim Formula: Affect, Agency and Participatory Performance with Care-experienced Young People

    Maggie Inchley and Sylvan Baker

    Part 3: Pedagogic Frames

    18. "Writing What Matters to me": Voicing Latinx Youth Concerns Through Theatre Scriptwriting

    Claudia G. Pineda, Rossella Santagata, and Joseph Jenkins.

    19. Let Them Speak: Devised Theatre as a Culturally Responsive Methodology for Secondary Students

    Jonathan P. Jones.

    Reflection 8: A Chain of Creative Bombs

    Tom Anderson

    20. Artistic and Pedagogical Experience at the Casa do Teatro, Brazil, and its Tradition

    Lígia Cortez.

    21. Botanical Drama- Theatre for Young People

    Justine Marie Bruyère.

    Reflection 9: "But damn it, without the illusion, what would man have been then?"

    Stig A. Eriksson.

    22. To the syllabus and Beyond: Yong People learning Through Theatre Making in Australian Schools.

    Katy Walsh and Christine Hatton

    23. Introduction: Reflecting on making Drama in secondary schools.

    Jane Isobel Luton and Holly Charlotte Luton.

    Reflection 10: What’s it like your youth theatre like?

    Ella Sutton and Kate Sutton

    24. Artist and teacher supported extra-curricular theatre in secondary schools: Exploring the benefits of a ‘betwixt and between’ youth theatre form

    Jennifer Penton, Julie Dunn, Linda Hassall, et al.

    25. Making Space: a community-engaged youth theatre practice grounded in care.

    Alysha Herrmann, Claire Glenn and Sarah Peters.

    Part 4: Applying Performance

    Reflection 11: Dancing towards Dreams

    Helen Nicholson

    26. ‘What does transformative justice look like?’: Clean Break Theatre Company and the Young Artists Development Programme

    Sarah Bartley

    27. SExT: Sex Education by Theatre — Empowering youth from a community where sex is culturally taboo to take centre stage

    Shira B. Taylor

    Reflection 12: Theatre for Learning Expression and Empathy from the Margins

    Kisan Salbul and Sana Shaikh

    28. ‘I do the story I tell’ – Theatre-making for children living on the margins in Singapore.

    Jennifer Wong

    29. United we stand? Devised Theatre for Social Change with youth in a tumultuous America

    Elizabeth Brendel Horn and Tonya Hays

    30. All the Stage is a World: Prospects for Virtual Reality Theatre with Young People

    Paul Rae and Jennifer Beckett

    Reflection 13: A Life Changing Journey in the Karoo, South Africa

    Adrian Tony

    31. Young Peoples Theatre in Thailand: A Performance Ecology Approach

    Pornrat Damrhung

    32. Imagining Alternative Futures for Marginalised Communities in Taiwan Through Devised Theatre with University Students in Educational and Community Settings

    Wan-Jung Wang

    Reflection 14: Moments of Truth

    John O’Toole

    Reflection 15: An Open Letter to Young Theatre Practitioners

    Syed Jamil Ahmed


    Selina Busby is professor of applied and social theatre at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Her research and practice focuses on theatre that invites the possibility of change. She is a researcher who uses participatory and emancipatory research methods with people living in adverse conditions, both in the UK and internationally. Recent publications include Applied Theatre: A Pedagogy of Utopia (2021).

    Kelly Freebody is an associate professor in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Sydney. Her research focuses on drama, applied theatre, social justice, creativity in education, and school-community relationships. Her teaching interests include drama pedagogy and critical perspectives in education. She is co-editor of the Applied Theatre Research Journal, and co-editor of the Routledge Learning Through Theatre series.

    Charlene Rajendran is an associate professor at the National Institute of Education – Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She is a theatre educator, researcher, and dramaturg whose interests include contemporary performance, play-based pedagogy, and arts leadership. She is currently the co-director of the Asian Dramaturgs’ Network.