Australian Theatre for Young People (ATYP) is Australia’s national youth theatre. For over 50 years, the company has been a creative incubator that connects empowering youth arts processes with the professional theatre industry – locally, nationally and internationally. ATYP commissions, stages and supports work that raises expectations of what youth theatre can achieve.
Our work is driven by the belief that every young person’s first experience of theatre should be tailor-made for their age. The first play Australians read and perform must be relevant to them, driven by characters their own age, informed by the ideas and experiences of their peers. Studies have shown that an involvement in the creative arts at a young age can improve cognitive abilities across all areas of learning, sees young people more likely to volunteer, vote and connect with their communities and fosters the creativity, adaptiveness and ability to prepare for careers of the future.
In our own research of over 1,200 participants, parents, alumni and other stakeholders, ATYP found that an involvement in youth theatre can positively impact mental wellbeing (94 per cent). The research also found a reduction in anxiety, improved resilience in coping with challenges, better skills in teamwork situations and improved motivation. All skills which benefit STEM learning, whether a young person aspires a vocational, technical, academic or artistic career.
As ATYP looks to the future we are constantly working to creating new opportunities and programs for young people across the country to engage with authentic, relevant and high-quality artistic experiences.
As part of this future vision we created the ATYP On Demand platform. The idea has blossomed from our Live Stream program, operating since 2013. The company has live-streamed professionally filmed performances from our theatre at least twice a year, to engage students facing geographic and economic barriers when wanting to engage with performing arts. With the new platform, our aim is to give schools that are too far from a theatre access to a live production with the best seats in the house.
ATYP is pleased to offer the platform for free to all students and teachers across the country but we are particularly pleased about the opportunities it will offer our friends in regional and remote communities. ATYP On Demand delivers unprecedented access to compelling theatrical experiences for young people, allowing them to experience our award-winning productions and high-quality educational resources in the classroom. This truly is theatre On Demand, in your school, whenever suits you, for free.
- Provides relevant links to the Australian Curriculum, becoming a key tool for teachers to use in lesson planning.
- Is free of charge and on demand, accessible only by schools, universities and children’s hospitals.
- Includes interactive learning resources, behind the scenes interviews with cast and creative teams, and live filmed Q&A sessions with casts, creative teams and audiences enabling deeper engagement and understanding of the theatrical process.
- Inspires students using the service in the classroom to attend more live productions, regardless of whether that’s at ATYP or at their local theatre.
ATYP anticipates that over 60,000 students will directly engage with the platform over the next five years.
While planning the build of this platform, ATYP looked to the international market searching for the best possible partner to create this porthole for students and teachers allowing access to these exceptional resources. They couldn’t go past the highly regarded and user-friendly National Theatre site, NT ON Demand (UK) and quickly made contact with Frog Education, who had built the product.
After initial meetings, Frog were engaged and in close partnership with the team at ATYP, work to create ATYP On Demand began.
Michael Wilkinson, Deputy Managing Director of Frog Education (UK) was key in guiding the technical build of the site, travelling to Sydney to work on the project in person. “Frog Education were delighted to have been chosen to partner with ATYP to build this visionary On Demand service. This builds upon our work globally in helping to increase audiences for arts and harness its power for learning, leveraging our world class technology already used by over 14,000 schools around the world. We feel privileged to be part of a project which will touch the lives of so many of Australia’s young people and which will no doubt gain global recognition in our collective mission to ensure every child can be the best they can be.”
ATYP will continue to add to the canon of work housed on the platform from their substantial back catalogue of filmed productions. Additionally each new live streamed performance will also be added, starting with Charlie Pilgrim (Or a Beginners Guide to Time Travel) in November 2018. The theatre company looks forward to engaging with students and teachers across the country for years to come as they expand the platform, offer in-school workshops to support the online lesson plans and who knows, maybe digital drama classes and online performances are not as far away as anyone thought!
Small rural school, Tocumwal Public School is situated eight hours west of Sydney and are just one of the many schools signing up to use ATYP On Demand.
“Our opportunities to reach large centres for performances are limited due to travel and costs affiliated with travel or simply not having access to performances within our district.
“An online resource would be beneficial in supporting teachers with their planning and having examples of performances and activities that have been provided by ATYP to reinforce key ideas. We look forward to utilising ATYP On Demand to support and extend our students learning,” says Laura Keech, teacher at Tocumwal Public School.