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TYA Programmers

Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) Venue Programmers Consortium

A consortium for people across the country who programme work for children and young people into their venues, touring networks, community, rural or local authority spaces. Quarterly sessions aim to provide a space to discuss work, latest trends and explore collaborative programming, and, importantly, provide a networking opportunity.

Next Meeting

The last meeting took place on Friday 9th February at Southbank Centre.

Our next meeting will be on June 6th – this will be in person at the Unicorn Theatre, London, Tooley Street, SE1 (www.unicorntheatre.com/visit). Thanks to Bailey and the team at Unicorn for supporting us in creating this day.

The day will run as follows:

10.30     Arrival – tea/coffee – meet at foyer to be directed to the rehearsal room where we are meeting.

11:00     Meeting – our normal conversations / information exchange (including a welcome from Rachel Bagshaw, the AD).

12.45     Lunch – please bring your own or nip out to the many local eateries. Unicorn is right in the heart of London Bridge, with plenty of options (Wasabi, Itsu, Leon, Tortilla, Tesco and Marks and Spencer) – all are also less than 5 minutes away.

1.30        Join the Early Years Symposium (details below)

5.00        End

Note that the day including the afternoon session is free to programmers; by signing up for the day, you will automatically be signed up to the afternoon session as we have been allocated tickets for this; we will forward your details to Unicorn.

The afternoon symposium will include facilitated discussion groups, Q&As with experts, plus seeing a performance of The Princess and the Pea, a new circus show for 2+ (a Unicorn, New Vic, Upswing Production). The day is informed by a recent artist development programme with Talawa Theatre Company, working with Black, global majority and disabled artists, aimed at developing the early years practice of artists under-represented in the sector. It will also focus on Creative Families, a new strand of the Unicorn’s Engagement programme, working with local families in the research, development and creation of Early Years productions. The Symposium will offer the opportunity to hear more about both initiatives, to meet the artists involved, and to share as a sector the opportunities, challenges, joys and more when creating Early Years work.

This session is only open to programmers and attendance must be agreed / booked in advance – if you wish to attend, please email by using the contact form/link below.

Those individuals / venues / touring circuits / festivals who normally attend will have already been sent this information via email.



The Consortium is open to programmers from venues, touring circuits and festivals across the country. If you are a programmer of work for young people and families and are interested in being part of this group, or attending the next meeting (details above), please make a request initially to Chris Elwell, via the contact us form below.

About the TYA Venue Programmers Consortium

The TYA Venue Programmers Consortium first met in 2000 and has met regularly since then with a broad membership of around 100 venues, averaging about 35-40 attendees at each meeting. The Consortium is un-constituted, non-minuted and is without a formal agenda, working to Chatham House Rules providing an open, safe space for discussion.

In January 2022, after consultation with the group, we decided to programme a blend of in-person and Zoom ‘chat and pitching’ sessions. The intention is to continue with our three monthly-ish meeting pattern with at least one session a year being a zoom-pitch. The last zoom-pitch session was held in September 2023.

For Zoom events, a typical session would take place between 10:30am-11:45am and include three/four five minute pitches of new work, or work in R&D looking for partners.

For in-person, 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 in-person gathering follows this pattern:

10:45am | Meet, teas and coffees etc.
11am | Main meeting
1pm | Lunch
2pm | Opportunity to see a performance, work share or work-in-progress and meet the company for a short discussion.
4pm | End

The Consortium is managed by Chris Elwell at Half Moon and Katy Snelling from Oxford Playhouse on behalf of the TYA sector.

Any questions? Get in touch!


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