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Phased Renewal: Sustainability of Youth Theatre Groups

By Youth Theatre Arts Scotland and the SRWG

Welcome to the Phased Renewal of Youth Theatre Activities toolkit! This toolkit provides an overview of the key areas that local groups should use to plan their activities in line with the Scottish Government’s Strategic Framework.  The guidance will continue to be updated in the weeks and months ahead.

We recommend starting with Youthlink’s FAQs and Youth Scotland’s Readiness Guide then reviewing the other resources in this Toolkit for youth theatre specific considerations and some handy links and examples.

The toolkit has been a collaborative effort by the YTAS  Sector Recovery Working Group (SRWG), established since June 2020. Youth theatre leaders from across Scotland have helped to identify what youth theatre groups need to deliver in line with Scottish Government guidelines, as the country recovers from the impact of COVID-19.

For further support information and resources you can also look at YTAS’s COVID-19: Youth Theatre Sector Guidance Toolkit.


  • Freelancers that might normally be employed by a youth theatre may not be able to be whilst no spend measures in place. This presents a real barrier when planning and training is needed.
  • Some youth theatre and organisations’ core staff have needed to take on additional roles and tasks, including online comms and facilitation, which they would not have had to do normally. There is a limit to what the organisation can achieve, and at what pace, under these circumstances.  This can be a real cause of anxiety for the limited remaining staff.


  • Many groups and freelancers have been able to access funding for new activities and bridging bursaries. Some local and national funders have also released options for adapting for a medium-term return of activities.
  • YTAS has a resource of links for financial support for organisations and financial support for individuals.
  • Some groups that suspended activity but charged fees prior to lockdown need to plan the reintroduction of fees for their activities. Communicating the group’s needs and circumstances in an open and personal way with parents/carers and participants is the best approach.  Those groups who have done this and started back reported lots of great support from parents.
  • Some youth theatres are considering a lower price to reflect reduced activities, group sizes or a potential a change in income for their participants’ families. Funders might be able to offset this gap in income.  Some youth theatres opted for a ‘pay what you can’ model for their delivery of online and return-to-the-room activities.


  • Consideration is needed over the different experiences, anxieties or confidence that staff and participants might have in relation to returning to youth theatre. You should plan additional time and opportunities to reflect on this together.  Does this throw up any new ideas for how we could reimagine our future together?
  • Are you planning to return to what you did before, or is there a need or opportunity to take a break or to operate in a different way? Does everyone feel the same way?
  • Many youth theatres are planning to continue online work, even when face-to-face becomes possible.  Online work also creates whole new opportunities, like partnership or international work, for example, with a regular link to other YT groups and leaders all across Scotland and around the world.



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