For the last fifteen years TENDERFOOT, The Civic Theatre’s apprentice theatre programme for transition year students, has been working to develop new voices in Irish theatre.  Each year 50 students from schools across South Dublin County participate in the programme to learn about theatre by making theatre.  The programme culminates in January every year with a programme of performed work written, designed, produced and performed by our young people for an audience of their peers.  What a way to start a new year?  With a showcase of new voices, fresh voices, and the building teaming with audiences, many new to theatre, hungry for work exploring their reality, their concerns, their world.

A couple of years ago we started to implement a plan, IMPACT, to further the good work of TENDERFOOT.  Over five years, we wanted to make Tenderfoot available to every school in South Dublin County and find ways to further develop the new voices we were discovering every year.  2020 is the first milestone on that journey.  We have just completed the first ever TENDERFOOT Summer Intensive which provided young people with a further opportunity to develop their writing.  The summer intensive gave us the plays that will be produced in January 2021.  And earlier this year we implemented six brand new Writing For Theatre Hubs, they ran remotely because of Covid-19, to provide more young people with a first opportunity to find their voice.

Of the more than 40 plays written during the writing hubs we recorded two for your enjoyment:


Tenderfoot New Writing: Stonewall by Emily Aasen from Our Ladys Secondary School
‘Stonewall’ explores past and present attitudes to being LBGTQ+ in two parallel storylines connecting past and present.


Tenderfoot New Writing: Applebeach by Rianna Lyons from Lucan Community College
‘Applebeach’ is a subtle and moving exploration of teenage depression. We invite you to click and enjoy.

Recorded Reading- These videos will be available to view until Monday 28th September.



TENDERFOOT Performance Programme 2021

Devised Piece

Lost by Sam Gorman Cooke

Covenant by Emma Brennan


Colour by Kai Foley

Secrets by Katelyn Hillary

1 & 2 by Abigail O’Neill

Life Class by Emily Aasen


Our young writers on writing.
I want to tell stories about the people around me… make people feel seen…”  Emma Brennan

“The stage requires brevity and subtlety.  Without a common narrator typical in non-performance literature the playwright must forge natural instances so that the audience bears witness to the characters changes, thoughts, and development.  The stage is a pure expression of humanity.”  Sam Gorman Cooke

Writing for the stage gives you a lot of opportunities…  you have to be able to picture it happening on a stage with real people acting it in real time, which is different and unique to most other forms of writing.”  Ella D’Arcy

“…with the stage you can show the world in shades of gray..”  Sumeet Deshmukh

When writing for the stage you have to take into account the space of the stage, and that is a physical place and not just an imaginary space you’ve thought of or created.  I want to tell realistic stories, not to sugarcoat the happenings in our homes and schools, to bring topics like depression, bullying, social anxiety, body image and abuse to the light of the stage and out from behind the curtains.”  Katelyn Hillary

I really enjoy writing character driven plays so I think I mostly just want to tell stories where everyone can relate to or empathise with my characters.”  Ella Kinsella

All of it is dialogue and action and at the start I found it hard to write a character without an internal monologue.”  Abby Mahon

I’m fond of writing about childhood, coming of age, relationships but I also have a passion for writing about more serious topics that I feel should be talked about more such as racism, sexism, mental illness etc.”  Alexa Pagaduan

I write songs, poetry and stories.  For most other forms of writing you can communicate important details in words but on stage it has to be displayed.”  Sinéad V. Paraiso

Writing for the theatre is more raw and uncut.  I like to tell stories that leave my audience thinking and questioning things that they never have before.”  Julie Tran Nguyen

Before taking part in Tenderfoot, I hadn’t written anything before, aside from for school and stuff like that.  Tenderfoot was kind of eye-opening for me in that way.  I love reading, I love poetry, I love movies and plays, but I had never been able to write because I didn’t feel I had anything interesting to say.  The experience of writing for Tenderfoot gave me the confidence to realise that not only had I a lot to say, but I also hugely enjoyed the process of saying it.  So while my ‘creative output’ so far is pretty lacklustre, I fully intend on continuing to write in the future.”  Daragh MacLachlan

Find out more about the Tenderfoot Summer Intensive programme here
Kindly Supported by The Arts Council and South Dublin County Council