TYA Programmers

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Theatre for Young Audiences – Venue Programmers Consortium

Next Meeting

…… will be at Stratford Circus, London on Friday 29 June, 2018 from 11.30am to 4pm.

This is our quarterly gathering to match the rhythm of season programming, so an opportunity to bring brochures, reflect on work seen and discuss potential collaborative programming opportunities etc. etc., and of course hopefully some lively discussions.

The schedule for the day will run as follows:

From 11.15am – 11.30am: Tea and coffee welcome: please meet in the foyer.

11.30am – 1.30pm: General Meeting

1.30pm – 2.15pm: Lunch. Stratford Circus’ café does a selection of paninis, sandwiches and salads.  Otherwise there are plenty of options within walking distance or please feel free to bring your own.

2.15pm-2.45pm – work in progress 1: Mole & Gecko – an interactive rap musical (working title) – suitable for Ages 4+

2.45pm – 3pm – Q and A

3pm – 3.30pm – work in progress 2: Jude Starbeam – for 7-11s

3.30pm – 3.45pm – Q and A

3.45pm – 4pm – informal tour of Stratford Circus

4pm – end


About the work we are seeing:

Mole & Gecko: an interactive rap musical (working title) – suitable for Ages 4+

A rapper and a singer. A mole and a gecko.
A river. A boat with no name.
A quest for adventure.
Our mismatched couple set off to find somewhere more exciting than here. Through live songs, rap stories, and instant poems that the audience make, we discover that what you imagine you are were searching for, may be less important than what you find on the way.

They will be sharing approximately 35 minutes of the piece as a ‘work-in-progress’.

Mole & Gecko is the fourth full length show Simon Mole has developed in collaboration with director and theatre-maker Peader Kirk. They will be touring the show from spring 2019 subject to support from a pending ACE Grants for the Arts grant. They are hoping to find venues interested to join that tour, particularly those who might see a booking as the start of a longer term relationship.

Simon is a nationally recognised writer and performer whose work explores issues that are important to young people in a way that is accessible to them. Peader’s work has recently been shown at The Institute of Contemporary Arts, The National Theatre of Greece, and The Hong Kong Repertory Theatre. Singer-songwriter Gecko has shared stages with the likes of Josie Long, Robin Ince, John Hegley & Billy Bragg. His debut album ‘Volcano’ has been heard on Radio 1 and at Glastonbury. Mole & Gecko is being developed with support from Half Moon, Apples and Snakes, the Albany, Norden Farm and Roundhouse.



Jude Starbeam – for 7-11s

The Jude Starbeam project started as a commission to develop a workshop for primary school children, encouraging the participnats to think about what it might be like to grow up with a brain injury. This resulted in the story of Jude Starbeam, a little girl astronaut whose spaceship gets hit by a meteorite. Following some R and D at Polka Theatre and the Institute of Imagination earlier in the year, and a subsequent successful GfA bid with additional financial support from Great Ormond Street, they are now working on developing the story into a 50-minute, 2 person show, which will tour to theatres from March 2019. The script is being written by Deanna Rodger (the UK’s youngest slam poetry champion).

They will be sharing a rehearsed reading of 10 minutes of the script, plus sharing the model box, puppets and design concept.

On the Button’s recent work includes Don’t Panic! It’s Challenge Anneka (listed by The Scotsman as one of its Top-Rated Shows of the Fringe), and No Place Like (Mimetic Festival award for Best Ensemble). Jude Starbeam will be the company’s first piece for audiences aged 7-11.


Getting there: Stratford Circus Arts Centre is a 5 minute walk from Stratford station which is on the Central Line, Jubilee Line,  London Overground, DLR and regional trains leaving Liverpool Street.  For those travelling through Kings Cross you can also take the Javelin train to Stratford International which takes 6 minutes, from there it’s a 15 minute walk through Westfield – please note that these trains aren’t as frequent.   More information of how to get to Stratford Circus please click here.

Note, on this occasion, that this meeting will not be live-streamed.


NOTE: Meetings are open to programmers only. If you are interested in being part of this group or attending our next meeting (details above), please make a request initially to Chris Elwell.


About the TYA Venue Programmers’ Consortium

The Consortium is for people across the country who programme work for children and young people into their venue, into touring networks, community, rural or local authority spaces. The sessions are scheduled quarterly and aim to provide a space to discuss work, latest trends and explore collaborative programming, and, importantly, provide a networking opportunity. The group is unconstituted, non-minuted and is without a formal agenda working to Chatham House Rules providing an open, safe space for discussion. The group first met in 1990, and has met regularly since then with a broad membership of around 75 venues, averaging about 35/40 attendees at each meeting.

The host venue for meetings rotates across Consortium members who provide an opportunity to watch a piece of work as part of the day. This varies from a piece in development to a full production.

A typical gathering follows this pattern (times can vary):
10.30am: meet, teas/coffees etc.
11am: main meeting
1pm: lunch
1.30pm: opportunity to see performance / work share / work-in-progress at host venue and meet the company/short discussion
3pm: end

The Consortium is open to any programmer. If you are interested in being part of this group or attending our next meeting (details above), please make a request initially to Chris Elwell.