Tenderfoot (Youth Arts)

TENDERFOOT is an award-winning theatre programme at the Civic Theatre in Tallaght for transition year students in the South Dublin County Council region. Its aim is to provide interested students with an opportunity to learn about theatre in a hands on way. To learn by doing, learn through apprenticeship.

The programme runs for six months and between thirty/forty students from seven different schools take part. Participating schools reflect the geographic and socio-economic landscape of the South Dublin County Council region. The programme promotes gender equity and also tries to reflect cultural diversity as evident in the student population.

Under the guidance of Veronica Coburn, Liam Halligan and Gavin Kostick a small number of students, approximately 15 or 16, participate in a targeted programme designed to introduce them to the basic conventions of drama, the work of existing playwrights and the discipline of writing for the stage. The ultimate aim of this programme is for each student to write an original play for the stage. These plays give artistic voice to young theatre artists.

Tenderfoot culminates in a 3 week full-time work experience programme for all participating students. The place of work is The Civic Theatre and the task is to produce a number, usually 6 or 8, of the plays written by the students. Apprenticeship is the guiding principle with the students learning by doing under the guidance of professional mentors. The plays are directed by the core tutors and they are performed, designed (set and costume) and stage managed by the students. Production students also learn about and have the opportunity to become involved in lighting and sound design.

The plays are performed in the Main Auditorium in The Civic. This decision is significant. By producing the students’ work in a professional theatre space it affords the work the status of art and respects the students as artists. Young people are not generally thought of as artists. And yet if art is a way to explore the world in which we live, to reflect that world and to try and understand it, surely young people on the cusp of adulthood are a natural voice. That voice, in Tenderfoot, is given a forum to be heard.

The Tenderfoot plays serve two distinct audiences. Firstly, a peer audience for whom the experience of engaging with art made by young artists can be profound. And secondly, the Civic Theatre’s general audience for whom engagement with this seldom heard theatrical voice can be both challenging and stimulating.

Tenderfoot operates within clear youth arts guidelines. Principles of good youth arts practice are adhered to at all times. Behavioural guidelines are clearly outlined for tutors and students alike and two welfare officers, one male and one female, are on site for all full group activities.

Tenderfoot is funded by the Civic Theatre, South Dublin County Council and the Arts Councils Young Ensembles Scheme.

Download TENDERFOOT Press Release 2017

Young Ensembles Scheme 2011

Young people from youth arts groups awarded funding through the Arts Council’s Young Ensembles Scheme (YES) 2011 participated in a showcase and networking event on 31 March 2012 in Sligo.