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Canberra Youth Theatre: Giving Young Artists the Chance to Express Themselves

By Erin Cross

To kick off the decade, Canberra’s longest running theatre for young artists launched their newest season which includes new programs and three thought provoking productions.

This year, The Canberra Youth Theatre is producing a dynamic program for Canberran artists with a focus on helping youth artists express themselves through intelligent and challenging theatre.

The company is concentrating on emerging artists in Canberra and the new program has been created to reflect what they do: provide workshops and opportunities for creative Canberrans aged 7 to 25.

Artistic Director Luke Rogers believes that these new programs and productions will give young artists in the ACT opportunity to express their creative souls and hone their craft.

“It will challenge audience’s expectations about what theatre created by young people can do,” Rogers said.

The three new Australian productions will provide young Canberrans the opportunity to express themselves through their art. According to Rogers, the productions will appeal to audiences from all walks of life.

“Our 2020 season asks some very big questions, explores our identities, and interrogates the connections we make with each other,” explained Rogers at the season launch.

“Our young artists will share stories that are relevant, urgent and reflect the challenges of contemporary life. They will inspire us and challenges us, make us think, make us laugh, and tell it like it is.”

Theatre goers will be asked what it takes for a teenage girl to fit in in Normal, an urban detective story based on the true story of “the town that caught Tourette’s.” Audiences will be left to think about what would happen if anonymity was taken away online and you had to own up to everything you’ve said in Impending Everyone. And they’ll face the hard questions of life, asked by children aged 9 to 13, as a panel of them tackle answers to the questions they’ve always wanted to know when the Canberra Youth Theatre team up with The Street to bring I’ve Been Meaning to Ask You to life.

The shows tackle modern issues, making them relevant and ideal for young artists searching for a way to explore their own feelings.

“Art is used so much for people to find their voice and discover who they are themselves,” says Rogers.

“Even if they don’t go on to become artists, that journey is so instrumental in developing who you are as a person, developing your own identity. Inspiration through art is the perfect tool for that.”

The Canberra Youth Theatre offers training programs and workshops to help young performers connect with professional artists that will encourage them to learn and develop new skills to help with their artistic careers. While these will continue with vigour in 2020, a new Emerging Artists program has been launched, aimed at creatives aged 18-25.

“The Emerging Artists program is to provide professional pathway opportunities to emerging artists so they can actually build sustainable careers both here locally and also on a national level,” says the Artistic Director.

The Emerging Artists program will include a half-year training program, a series of Masterclasses and a yearlong Resident Artists program designed for those who are passionate about creating and challenging themselves.

Rogers explains that the Canberra Youth Theatre is trying to keep young artists in the Nation's Capital by creating more opportunities.

“We’re trying to create opportunities so people can have a sustainable practice here in the ACT region and if they do go off to other capital cities that they are feeding back into the ecology of the cultural sectors here in the territory.”

To learn more about the programs and the upcoming productions visit


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