A little over a year ago, the Young Vic launched YV:IDemystify, a programme of free public events to catalyse debate around issues commonly faced in the theatre sector.
Curated through a model of informal conversation between working professionals and audiences, YV:IDemystify was a platform for knowledge sharing on challenges in the creation and reception of work for the stage. Today, as YV:IDemystify kicks off with a new series of events, we are publishing a reflection on the insights, questions and thought-provocations voiced in the events so far.
We are incredibly grateful to our co-convening partners, Jerwoord Arts, Artsminds, the Young Vic Directors Program, and LIFT, who offered invaluable advice and support from their particular areas of expertise. Most of all, we would like to thank our speakers and the 1,100+ audience members who have contributed across the sessions so far.
Given the impact of this past year on the theatre industry and the systemic obstacles it has made acutely visible, we wanted to make sure the experiences, concerns and ideas shared in the YV:IDemystify conversations can continue to feed into our thinking about how to rebuild our sector more fairly, transparently and resiliently. We are pleased to be publishing this write-up, which includes thought-provoking contributions from speakers and audience members - not so much as a report in the sense of analytical data collection, but rather a capturing of sentiments, currents and observations in the informal and discursive style characteristic of the events.
At each YV:IDemystify event, speakers and audiences came from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds, to cover a range of topics resonant to the makers of work for the stage. Breaking Down The Doors looked at innovative ways of forging a creative career, fed by the perspective of two artistic directors. Directing and Dramaturgy saw two dramaturges in conversation about the creative contribution of dramaturgical practice to the production of a piece of theatre. What’s Blocking You created a space to talk about resilience and strategies to overcome internal obstacles and external challenges in the path of the creative practitioner. Finally, Festivals as a Pathway explored the creation of new work in a festival context.
The aim for YV:IDemystify has always been to reduce the opaqueness about the mechanisms at play in the sector, and to share learning experiences. We hope this reflection does exactly that.
Report written by Teunkie Van Der Sluijs