Call for Papers: Talking TYA, Galway 2020

18 November, 2019

Proposals are invited for Talking TYA, a two-day international conference to be held as part of Galway’s celebration of its year as European Capital of Culture in 2020.

Organised as a collaboration between staff from Ulster University, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick and NUI Galway, the conference is supported by Galway 2020 and will be held in a partnership with Branar Téatar do Pháistí, O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance and the Baboró International Arts Festival for Children which begins on 12th October 2020. The conference itself will run from Friday 9th- Saturday 10th October at the O Donoghue Centre, NUI Galway Ireland.


Conference Theme: Participation in TYA

Theatrical performances for young audiences (TYA) is far from a new phenomenon, yet the emergence of a distinctive professional sector has accelerated over the last thirty years in Ireland, the United Kingdom, and globally. Although informed by and occasionally intersecting with other fields of practice including Theatre for Youth and Theatre-in-Education, it is characterised primarily by the work of adults who make and perform work for children and young adults. As Shifra Schonmann puts it, it is adults who “write the plays, who act and direct performances, and who choose the plays to be watched by the young audiences” (2006: 20). This defining characteristic has come under pressure more recently from a number of sources, at the level of public policy in some contexts, through innovations in performance practice, and in the processes by which performances are made. The reception of performance work has also been opened up to children and young adults through the development of opportunities for them to act as critics of the work. These developments notwithstanding, there is a significant gap in the field in relation to evidence of the efficacy or impact of the practices adopted in increasing the agency of young people in shaping the field of practices created specifically for them.


This conference aims to bring together scholars from across the island of Ireland and internationally to address this gap. We invite presentations that engage with the theme of participation in all forms of TYA performance, process, policy, training and engagement. The conference will include keynote presentations, workshops and panel discussions.


Proposals are invited for 20 minute presentations on a range of topics and from diverse perspectives. These might include but are not limited to discussions around the following dimensions of participation:

  • Performance forms
  • The evaluation and critical reception of TYA
  • Policy frameworks
  • Ethics
  • Theories and models
  • Processes for developing work
  • The implications of inclusive practice


The organisers are exploring currently the opportunities for the inclusion of a selection of papers for publication following editorial and peer-reviewed feedback.


To submit a proposal:

  • Submit a single document (either Word or PDF) containing a 500 word abstract and bibliography; identifying up to 4 keywords, and a short biography (200 words maximum) by 12 noon on Friday 10th January 2019 to
  • Those wishing to engage with alternative approaches to presenting research, such as performance-papers, are asked to include an additional 100-word statement detailing the intended format.
  • Your proposal must include your name, institutional affiliation and email address on the top left of the first page.
  • Proposals will be reviewed by the Organising Committee and decisions will be communicated by Friday 7th February 2020.


The Organising Committee members are:

Dr Tom Maguire (Ulster University), Dr Fiona McDonagh, Dr Dorothy Morrissey (Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick), Marc Mac Lochlainn (Branar), Marianne Ní Chinnéide (NUI Galway).

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