What is Youth Theatre?

Youth Theatre defines a group or several groups of young people who come together regularly to participate in theatre/drama and performing arts related activities. These groups are led and/or facilitated by experienced/trained staff (paid or voluntary) and the participation of the young people is voluntary and outside of statutory education. Youth Theatre is a local activity rooted in the community and facilitates the creative interaction of young people. It has a youthful energy with the empowerment of young people at the core of its reason to exist.

NAYT’s Principles:

  • All young people have a right to participate in high quality, engaging, challenging and meaningful theatre experiences.

  • Young people and those who work with them have the right to work in safe environments.

  • Youth theatre and all of its practitioners have the right to platforms of equal value and importance as other forms of theatre.

  • Youth theatre has the power to influence, inform, challenge and change theatre practice.

  • Youth theatre has the right to the same resources as other forms of theatre.

  • Youth theatre has the right to work with high quality artists and theatre practitioners.

  • Youth theatre is at its best when it provides opportunities for young people to take risks in safe contexts.

  • Youth theatre is vital to the personal, social, political, aesthetic and educational development of young people. The theatre art is a universal expression of human kind and helps young people to find their place and voice in society.

  • Youth theatre practitioners have the right to high quality professional development.

  • Youth theatre recognises young people as artists in their own right.

  • Youth theatre should access a diverse range of cultures, genres, art forms and approaches.

  • Youth theatre should reflect and represent the diversity of all young people taking part.



We have a database to find a Youth Theatre in your area, so you can find a group to get involved with. The Find a Youth Theatre tool below will help you find out where your local groups are and the menu on the left provides more information about what being in a youth theatre means, the opportunities that it can lead to and how you can tell us about your own experiences.