Research: Evidencing the Long-Term Impact of Youth Theatre Participation

We’re excited to tell you about some research we’re undertaking, evidencing the long-term impact of youth theatre participation in an attempt to prove what we all anecdotally know to be true: youth theatre changes lives.  

We’ve launched a survey, which forms the first stage of a research collaboration between Youth Theatre Arts Scotland (YTAS) and the Scottish Graduate School of Arts and Humanities (SGSAH). Drawing upon YTAS’s established national network, the research project is titled Evidencing the Long-Term Impact of Participation in Youth Theatre.  

We want to paint a picture of the long-term impact youth theatre has on participants’ lives, careers, health, and wellbeing over the past 20 years, into adulthood. We already know that youth theatre produces great performers and youth arts leaders. We’d also like to know whether participating in it as a young person makes for better teachers, lawyers, CEOs, zookeepers, doctors, and so on…! We are particularly interested in evidencing the long-term impact on those who have gone on to sectors unrelated to the performing arts.   

Can the youth theatre sector help to spread the word? 

This is where we need the help of our network, and all the networking you do in your own lives. YTAS can’t just cold-email people who were involved in youth drama several decades ago. But as social animals, we (as a sector) probably all keep in touch with some of these people… 

Do you still see people from your own youth theatre days? Are they on your Facebook or other social networks? Do you work for an organisation that can help us amplify our message to a relevant audience? In short: can you spread the reach of our survey by getting it into inboxes of people who’d make good interview subjects? 

How can we tell the world?

We’d really appreciate your help, so we want to make it as quick as possible for you to pass the survey on. We’ve written some sample wording for social media posts, emails and messages to help you share the message. Please feel free to use these to help you start the ball rolling in your network…

Theatre pals! Youth Theatre Arts Scotland are carrying out some research on what impact taking part in youth theatre had on people’s lives and careers. They especially want to hear from folk who didn’t go into the performing arts… Could you spare ten minutes to answer some questions, and then share with people you went to youth theatre with? #YouthTheatreMadeMe

LOVED going to youth theatre back in the day! In case you hadn’t seen it already, Youth Theatre Arts Scotland are looking into what long-term impacts taking part in youth theatre has on people’s lives – do you think you could spare a few minutes to answer some questions? Please share with your youth theatre pals too! #YouthTheatreMadeMe

#YouthTheatreMadeMe feel happier! I’m so glad I had the experience of being creative with my friends. Please take a few minutes to tell Youth Theatre Arts Scotland how or what youth theatre made you feel, and fill out their survey below”

#YouthTheatreMadeMe a better teacher. I use the skills I learnt in youth theatre every day in my classroom, facilitating young people’s engagement and making topics creative and fun! Youth Theatre Arts Scotland are researching the long-term impact of youth theatre and especially want to hear from folk who didn’t go into the performing arts… Could you spare ten minutes to answer some questions?


You might remember our 2021 campaign #YouthTheatreMakesMe, where we sparked an online discussion about the impact youth theatre has on young people. Well, we’d now like to take that work a step further alongside our survey. #YouthTheatreMadeMe is the continuation of that campaign, where we’ll be looking to share the stories of how it impacted the lives of previous participants.

Join us on Wednesday 13 April to make a big noise under the hashtag #YouthTheatreMadeMe. There’s a guidance sheet below with some ideas for how to take part effectively. Please share the #YouthTheatreMadeMe campaign posts with your networks, and feel free to share your own inspiring stories!

How will the outcomes of the research be used? 

As the first research stage, the survey aims to identity potential subjects for depth interviews. It will also provide our researcher, Ellie, with a wider data set in which to situate the six-to-eight case studies we’re aiming to produce.  

We’ll communicate the findings of these case studies to key policymakers, funders, and network members. It’s our hope that the findings will help to shape future planning and delivery in the youth theatre sector. 

So, please think of this as your research. We’d all find evidencing the long-term impact helpful for funding applications and sparking ideas for future projects. Please help us to prove that youth theatre dramatically transforms lives. 

#YouthTheatreMadeMe guidance sheet

Project Partners

This project was undertaken with the help of the following groups and organisations:

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