Youth Theatre Arts Scotland (YTAS) is the national development organisation and umbrella body for Scotland’s youth theatre sector.
We provide direct services to young people, youth groups and their leaders through a combination of
- youth theatre projects,
- training and professional development, and
- information and advocacy.
The impact of our work ripples across a national network of year-round local activity.
Background and Track Record
In 2002 the Scottish Arts Council’s ‘Review of Youth Theatre’ recommended that: “ a network of linked organisations is created to provide momentum and focus for the youth theatre sector”. As a direct result, ‘Promote YT (Scotland)’ was incorporated in 2004 and rebranded as Youth Theatre Arts Scotland (YTAS) in 2013.
Since 2004 YTAS has played an instrumental role in building and supporting a vibrant and vital youth theatre sector in Scotland. As a result of this work:
- 16,500 young people take part in youth theatre activity every week
- They are supported by a network of 1800 adult staff and volunteers
- 1,370 sector professionals and volunteers have attended YTAS training and networking events
- YTAS has over 100 members operating throughout Scotland’s 32 local authorities
- Creative Scotland described our organisation as one which makes “a vital contribution to the current health and future development of the arts in Scotland”.
- The national Youth Arts Strategy, ‘Time to Shine’ highlighted that “Scotland’s youth theatre sector is well networked and, through the work of Youth Theatre Arts Scotland, is proactive in its self- development”
“YTAS is a key reason that people in the sector know each other so well. They provide an invaluable way for the sector to develop. Particularly useful for freelancers who often work alone and can feel detached from the sector.” – YTAS member
As youth theatre has evolved as a practice and an art form in Scotland, YTAS has listened to the changing needs and aspirations of its sector. In our development role we have identified and responded to gaps in provision, provided participatory youth theatre opportunities which have transformed young lives, and led the way in delivering training which has galvanized and professionalised the sector.
Scotland’s Youth Theatre Arts Infrastructure
Scotland’s youth theatre arts infrastructurecomprises a wide range of people, places and networks; both formal and informal, real and virtual. It may be best described as a community of practice operating at a local and national level. This infrastructure serves the needs and ambitions of Scotland’s youth theatre participants, leaders, artists and audiences and YTAS’s mission is to support, connect and inspire their work.
In 2015, YTAS’s Sector Mapping Report revealed that:
- There are 265 organisations delivering youth theatre activity in 341 venues across Scotland.
- YTAS’s Members represent the majority of activity provided across the country.
- A third of all youth theatre venues in Scotland do not charge participants to take part in activities and another third offers financial support.
- Half of the organisations identify as ‘independent’, a quarter are ‘affiliated to theatres’ and a quarter are ‘affiliated to schools or education bodies’.
- A fifth of organisations are ‘voluntary run’, 11% are ‘local authority run’ and 6% are ‘commercial ventures’.
Youth Theatre Arts Scotland remains committed to strengthening our sector to ensure high quality experiences are offered across the country and more young lives are transformed through youth theatre.
YTAS’ Commitment to the Living Wage
YTAS has been an accredited Living Wage employer since 2016. This commitment ensures that everyone working at YTAS, regardles of whether they are permanent employees or third-party contractors and suppliers; receive a minimum hourly wage of £8.75 – significantly higher than the national minimum wage of £7.50.
Living Wage accreditation is administered by The Living Wage Foundation, in partnership with Poverty Alliance. It is an hourly rate set independently and updated annually. The Living Wage is calculated according to the basic cost of living using the ‘Minimum Income Standard’ for the UK. Decisions about what to include in this standard are set by the public; it is a social consensus about what people need to make ends meet.
“Youth Theatre Arts Scotland pays the Living Wage to all its employees. It highlights how our values and role in Scotland’s cultural development underpin the work we do with Youth Theatre professionals and young people.” – Kenny McGlashan, YTAS’s CEO.