Often we hear "What do you mean by Theatre for Young People?", "What is Theatre for Young Audiences?" or "Do children perform in your shows?" or even "So it's just for kids?"
Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) is a vibrant and essential sector within the world of theatre, dedicated to creating and presenting theatrical experiences specifically tailored for children, teens, young adults, and family audiences. At Kaleidoscope Theatre for Young People, we are proud to be a professional theatre company that focuses on providing high-quality performances for young audiences.
When we say “Theatre for Young People,” we mean that our productions are managed, presented, and performed by adult professionals who are experienced in the art of theatre. Our actors are members of the Canadian Actors’ Equity Association, and we operate under the terms of the Canadian Theatre Agreement. This ensures that the performances are of the highest caliber and are executed with the expertise and professionalism that young audiences deserve.
It’s important to note that if you attend one of our events and see that the performers are all children, that is a program offered by Kaleidoscope’s theatre school, The Kaleidoscope Performing Arts Studio. These productions will be the products of summer camps or classes and are not a Kaleidoscope Theatre for Young People Production. Our Performing Arts Studio provides opportunities for children and youth between the ages of 3 and 18 to participate in weekly classes, camps, and workshops covering various areas of performing arts, including musical theatre, acting, and voice – often taught by the actors and artists who appear onstage in our productions!
The impact and reach of Theatre for Young Audiences in Canada are immense and diverse. For example, in a small sample of nine professional TYA companies across the country, they collectively reached an astonishing 416,670 individuals in just one year. TYA companies often go beyond major urban centers and tour extensively in rural areas where schools and community centres are located. This ensures that children from all backgrounds, regardless of their location or socio-economic status, have access to the transformative power of live theatre.
TYA plays a significant role in introducing children to the world of theatre, often serving as their first theatrical experience. This makes TYA an influential and formative platform for nurturing a lifelong love of the arts. The model of TYA ensures accessibility to shows, fostering a sense of inclusion and appreciation for diverse stories and experiences.
One of the unique aspects of TYA is its ability to reach multiple age groups, resulting in the creation of multiple canons of work that span different genres, formats, and themes, both traditional and contemporary. TYA often commissions and develops new Canadian works, respecting and celebrating Canadian stories while ensuring their contemporary relevance to young audiences. Although TYA does not create educational content, it often extracts connections from regional and provincial curricula, fostering educational relevance and complementing classroom learning.
The transformative power of TYA cannot be understated. It has the capacity to strengthen relationships, improve emotional intelligence, and facilitate important conversations about challenging topics. TYA shows often have longevity and can tour for multiple years, contributing to the sustainability of the sector while still allowing for the creation of innovative new works.
At Kaleidoscope Theatre for Young People, we are committed to the art of Theatre for Young Audiences. Through our professional productions and the education programs offered at our Performing Arts Studio, we strive to inspire, entertain, and engage young audiences, fostering a lifelong appreciation for the magic of live theatre. Join us on this extraordinary journey, where imaginations flourish, hearts are touched, and dreams take flight.