Providing advocacy & resources for the field of theatre for young audiences.

Announcing the UT Austin TYA Artistic Exchange Fellowship

THEATRE FOR YOUNG AUDIENCES/USA (TYA/USA) and The University of Texas at Austin Department of Theatre and Dance



New York, NY, September 19, 2017 –TYA/USA, the national organization that provides advocacy and resources to the field of Theatre for Young Audiences, in collaboration with the University of Texas at Austin, will offer a new fellowship opportunity for artists in the field of Theatre for Young Audiences. The UT Austin TYA Artistic Exchange Fellowship will provide a pair of TYA artists from across the US with the opportunity to attend an international festival together, see each other’s work in action, and apply what they learn to their future work. The fellowship will also award a UT Austin student the opportunity to participate, observe, and exchange with the awarded artists throughout the process. This fellowship aims to elevate the quality of the TYA landscape by sparking creativity, generating dialogue, and enriching the practice of artists in the field.  


“We are thrilled to partner with UT Austin, a leading training program in Theatre for Youth, to offer this dynamic new opportunity to artists in the field,” reported Jonathan Shmidt Chapman, Executive Director of TYA/USA. “There are few opportunities for artists to develop a deeper understanding of excellence in theatre for young people by actually seeing each other’s work in action and reflecting on it together. We believe this fellowship will allow artists to deepen their practice, and help elevate artistic quality in the field of TYA.”


The catalyst for the creation of this fellowship is Dr. Brant Pope, Department Chair for the Department of Theatre and Dance at UT Austin. “There’s so much conversation in the field of TYA around quality and artistic excellence. We’re interested in experimenting with new ways to move the needle in practical ways that impact artists directly,” offered Dr. Pope. In addition to providing two artists with this two-year exchange fellowship, UT Austin will also award a grad student the opportunity to participate as an observer of the overall experience. “Not only will this opportunity serve professional theatremakers, but the exchange will also impact the next generation of TYA practitioners entering in the field.”


This new fellowship opportunity builds upon TYA/USA’s long history of providing travel and research opportunities for professionals in the field of TYA. The ASSITEJ/USA Observership fund was founded in 1996 to support career development opportunities for theatre artists and administrators committed to theatre for young audiences. This program was renamed in 2003 as the Ann Shaw Fellowship, in recognition of Ann Shaw’s visionary leadership and tireless efforts to support individual career development of TYA professionals. Since its inception, the Ann Shaw Fellowship has provided funds to assist over forty individuals with travel to theatres and festivals throughout the United States and abroad, for viewing outstanding work, and exploring challenging questions related to the field of theatre for young audiences. Applications for the Ann Shaw International TYA Fellowship, as well as the Emerging Leader in TYA Fellowship, are now being accepted as well.

More information can be found at: http://tyausa.org/tyausa-fellowships/


How the UT Austin TYA Artistic Exchange Fellowship Works:

  • IDENTIFY A PARTNER: A TYA artist/company identifies another TYA artist/company working in a different location whose work they are interested in seeing in action
  • OBSERVE THEATRE IN ACTION: Both artists apply together. The awarded pair will see each other’s artistic work and utilize the experience for peer exchange (ideally, the award allows an exchange that had not been previously possible).
  • SHARE AND EXCHANGE IDEAS: A chosen UT Austin graduate student will participate in all of the visits as an observer and participant in conversation. Awardees will include graduate student in their dialogue, impacting the next generation of TYA practitioners through their own exchange and development.

Awarded pairs will receive a total of $8000 over two years to take four trips ($4000 for each participating artist to cover the cost of travel, accommodation and expenses related to the exchange):

        • Both artists will attend the 2018 IPAY Showcase in Philadelphia (January 23-28) to see a range of international TYA together, using the experience as a way to begin a conversation around quality and excellence in TYA
        • One artist travels to see the fully-produced work of the other, and ensure time for conversation and reflection before and after the observation.
        • One artist travels to see the fully-produced work of the other, and ensure time for conversation and reflection before and after the observation.
      • Both artists present on their experience at the OTW 2019 Conference in Atlanta


Applications will be available on September 19, 2017. Awarded artists will be announced on December 15, 2017.


About TYA/USA: Theatre for Young Audiences/USA (TYA/USA), is a national service organization whose mission is to promote the power of professional theatre for young audiences through excellence, collaboration, and innovation across cultural and international boundaries. The organization provides advocacy and resources in order to strengthen and diversify the field of theatre for young audiences.   Founded in 1965, TYA/USA is the only theatre organization in the United States which has the development of professional theatre for young audiences and international exchange as its primary mandates. TYA/USA is the United States Center for the International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People (ASSITEJ). TYA/USA hosts a bi-annual national conference, produces TYA Today Magazine, and offers a range of professional development opportunities, both for its membership and the greater field. www.tyausa.org.

About the University of Texas at Austin Department of Theatre and Dance: The UT at Austin Department of Theatre and Dance is a world-class educational environment that services as the ultimate creative incubator for the next generation of artists, thinkers and leaders in theatre and performance. Founded in 1938, the department was the first university theatre program in the state of Texas. Now, with 50 full-time faculty and staff, and 400 undergraduate and 70 graduate students, the department is one of the largest theatre and dance programs in the country. Our alumni are regularly featured on stage, television and film, and have been recognized with Academy Awards, Tony Awards, Emmy Awards and the Pulitzer Prize in Drama. The department is accredited by National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD) and is a member of the University/Resident Theatre Association (U/RTA).


The Master of Fine Arts in Drama and Theatre for Youth and Communities (DTYC) is a nationally recognized program that focuses on the interdependence of theatre artistry, pedagogy and scholarship. Inherently interdisciplinary in nature, the program draws on practice and scholarship from many fields such as theatre/drama, feminist studies, performance studies, education and critical pedagogy, youth development and cultural studies.


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