Chrysalis: Scotland's Youth Theatre Festival Returns

Scotland’s festival of youth theatre returns to the Traverse Theatre once again for three days of new work by some of Europe’s leading youth theatre organisations

Preview by Amy Taylor | 12 Nov 2018
  • There is a Globe Stuck in My Throat, Junges Emsemble Marabu

For the fourth year running, and in what just so happens to be the Scottish Government’s Year of Young People, Chrysalis Festival will set up camp at the Traverse Theatre this month for three days of bold, bright and exciting new work, featuring national and international companies, as well as workshops, collaborations and talks.

This year’s iteration, as with previous years, is set to highlight how important it is to nurture the next generation of theatre-makers, and let their work be seen by a wider audience, who may otherwise miss it. 

“The festival celebrates bold, engaging, high quality theatre that just happens to be made by young people," Catherine Makin, producer of Chrysalis Festival, says of the importance of youth theatre. “Not only are these artists the future voices of theatre, it’s really important that the opinions of young people are given a platform, and hopefully lead audiences to think about issues in unexpected ways.”

The festival, which is run by Youth Theatre Arts Scotland, was born from a desire to elevate youth theatre across the country and showcase both national and international work.

Makin explains: “We wanted to create a high-profile platform for this work to be seen by wider audiences, and for youth theatres across Scotland to see each other’s work and be inspired by work from other companies, from across the UK and internationally, that they might not otherwise get to see.”

The programme for this year’s festival features four main shows from companies such as Camden Youth Theatre, Platform Young Company and Germany’s Junges Ensemble Marabu. Other events include Emergence, a scratch night which allows companies to try out new work in front of a live audience.

In addition to this, Chrysalis has also launched a brand-new scheme for 2018. Creative Buddies sees four youth groups get paired with four professional theatre companies – Vanishing Point, Stellar Quines, Magnetic North and Puppet Animation Scotland – to help them develop their work beyond the festival. That's alongside workshops, talks and other events which, Makin explains, will help the participants and also the audience look to the future. 

“All of the companies taking part in the festival will work together across the weekend in workshops and discussion sessions," says Makin, "starting conversations and creating a platform to share what matters most to them and what the future might hold for young artists making work in the current climate. The Youth Panel and In the Studio workshops are open to all and will give a great insight into the work and the companies for free.” 

Youth Theatre Arts are currently working with a number of collaborators around the world, and have partners in France, Belgium, Ireland and Norway to name just a few. As Makin points out, continuing to collaborate with and learn from international companies is vital in the current political climate; it gives youth theatre groups the chance to tour, and inspires them to create more work in the future.

Makin says: “I think an important part of the programme is being able to present a mixture of Scottish and international work. Youth theatre doesn’t often get to tour, particularly outside of their local area, so it’s exciting that we are able to present work that would not normally be seen together.

“With an international programme, international companies get to learn more about the theatre sector in Scotland, and Scottish companies can see exciting performances and hopefully be inspired in the work they create in the future.”

Chrysalis Festival, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, 15-17 Nov