Young Critics on the Edge – Reflections on Day 3 by Ellie Woolman

Today we hear from Young Critic On The Edge Ellie Woolman from Plymouth. 

Yesterday  we watched the first two of the four shows of On The Edge festival this week: Boing! and Brush.

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Young Critic On The Edge – Ellie Woolman

First of all, it was a new experience for me to sit in a theatre full of 3-7 year olds. At both shows, crowds of young school children gathered nearest to the stage. I didn’t quite realise how much joy it would give me, to witness these small children seeing what could quite possibly be their first theatre production; their faces beamed from the moment the lights went down,  until they were ushered away at the end. They laughed, danced,  gasped, shouted throughout and just generally showed the most refreshing enthusiasm I’ve experienced in a theatre in a long time, it definitely made my time there more enjoyable too.

Seeing these children, of all ages,  experience the exciting, immersive theatre from On The Edge festival reminded me why its so important for opportunities like this for young people to be able to experience theatre. During one of our first workshop sessions this week,  the group brainstormed reasons why theatre should be created for young people: it should entertain, provide a form of escapism,  inspire,  tell a story, teach a lesson.

I think that programmes like On The Edge are fantastic as they open doors to such a variety of young people, to help build foundations to promote further cultural and social development as well as to spark an interest in this ever growing,  exciting industry.  Today just really reminded me why we are all in this together, excited for the future of theatre for young people.


Jude Merrill from Travelling Light Theatre Company meets with the Young Critics to discuss Boing! Photo: Alan King


Come join Young Critics On The Edge at Birmingham Repertory Theatre on July 7th  in the Parkside Building, Lecture Theatre from 5-6.30 to hear the Young Critics critical responses to several productions from On The Edge .

Learn about more Young Critics that are On The Edge here 

Young Critics On The Edge  is a collaboration between Barnstorm Theatre Company,NAYD (National Association for Youth Drama) Ireland and Mess Up The Mess, Get the Chance (Wales) in conjunction with the Symposium strand of the ASSITEJ Artistic Gathering for 2016.


Young Critics On The Edge

Young Critics On The Edge

 ‘An amazing, life changing experience…Words cannot describe how amazing of a programme young critics is.’ NAYD Young Critic 2015

What is Young Critics On The Edge?

Young Critics On The Edge is a 5 day-long programme to develop critical analysis skills in young people aged 18–25 as part of On The Edge The World Festival of Theatre For Young Audiences.

Young Critics On The Edge  is a collaboration between Barnstorm Theatre Company, NAYD (National Association for Youth Drama) Ireland and Mess Up The Mess, Get the Chance (Wales) in conjunction with the Symposium strand of the ASSITEJ Artistic Gathering for 2016.

ON THE EDGE is presented by TYA-UK and TYA-Ireland. It is the ASSITEJ Artistic Gathering 2016. ON THE EDGE is hosted by Birmingham REP.

Young Critics On The Edge   is open to young people aged 18-25 who are interested in watching theatre, discovering how and why theatre is made, and learning how to critically discuss, analyse, and review Theatre For Young Audiences

Over a five-day period they will see some incredible shows, make new friends and learn about the art of theatre criticism. All this happens during On The Edge The World Festival of Theatre For Young Audiences in Birmingham from July 3rd – July 8th 2016.

In a very exciting and innovative programme young people are given an opportunity to see quality productions, develop their critical skills and make their own critical responses under the mentorship of leading International drama facilitators.

Who can take part?

Two participants from Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and England and a further two participants from the host city of Birmingham will be selected to take part.

Participants will drawn through the partner organisations of Barnstorm Theatre Company (Ireland), Mess Up the Mess (Wales), NAYD (Ireland), Get The Chance (Wales) Youth Theatre Arts Scotland, A Younger Theatre (England), Theatre NI (Northern Ireland) and Birmingham Repertory Theatre.

 In order to offer individual advice and guidance on developing each young person’s critical skills, places on the programme are limited to 12 places in total.

What happens during the Young Critics?

The Young Critics will meet in Birmingham from Sunday July 3rd to Friday July 8th. Over five days the Young Critics will attend a number of theatre productions, interact with the city, participate in  workshops, live blog and share their views with delegates of ASSITEJ Artistic Gathering for 2016.

How do I apply to take part in Young Critics?

Participation on the programme is free: accommodation, food, theatre tickets and travel costs to Birmingham are all covered by The Partner Organisations.

It is open to young people who will be aged between 18-25 on May 27th 2016. We are looking for young people who are comfortable meeting new people, working in a highly focused way and are not afraid to share their thoughts and opinions with each other.

To be a Young Critic you must be fully available from Sunday July 3rd – Friday July 8th and agree fully to the rules and regulations of the organisers.

The organisers will have a Liaison and Logistics Officer in place to ensure the wellbeing and safety of all participants.





 Watch some former Young Critics from NAYD’s Young Critics programme in Ireland Talk about the Young Critics Programme.

If you need further information please contact Alan King at NAYD for more information.