Arts with/for/by Young People

Arts with/for/by Young People

TNA is the Australian organisation responsible for convening, supporting, and developing the performance with/for/by young people sector. It also represents and promotes Australia in the ASSITEJ global network and facilitates international and national opportunities for our sector.


ASSITEJ is the International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People (the acronym comes from the original French: Association Internationale de Theatre pour les Enfants et le Jeunesse). It is an international alliance of professionals involved in performance with/for/by young people, and there are 83 national centres globally; TNA is the ASSITEJ centre for Australia, continuing a 40+ year relationship between ASSITEJ and Australia.

Australia has hosted two World Congresses: the 9th Congress (Adelaide, 1987) and the 16th Congress (Adelaide 2008). We now have a closer role within the network, with our Australian representative, Sue Giles, being elected the President of ASSITEJ in May 2021.

Established in 2020, TNA convenes an ASSITEJ Advisory Committee that is made up of representatives from the performance with/for/by young people sector from across the country. 

Video: Young People & Theatre

TNA worked with Amelia Ducker to create an inspiring video celebrating work made with and for young people across Australia.

The video premiered at the ASSITEJ World Congress/ MIRAI Festival in March 2021, presenting Australia’s Theatre for Young Audiences and Youth Arts Sector to international delegates. It was screened again in May 2021 at NEIGHBOURHOOD, the first of five Australian Theatre Forum 2021 events held in partnership with Australian Performing Arts Market (APAM) and DreamBIG Children’s Festival.

It proudly reflects the breadth of work we create and varied contexts within which we create; showcases our diversity of practice, practitioners and audiences; and highlights the unique work being made in Australia.


TNA regularly makes representations to governments and their agencies on behalf of the performance with/for/by young people sector, as well as supports the sector by providing resources and guidance in advocacy. 

Most recently TNA wrote a submission to the Office for Youth for their federal youth engagement strategy consultation.

Youth Dance Australia

Youth Dance Australia (YDA) is a network of organisations and artists that advocate for and support best practice in dance with young people in Australia. YDA youth dance companies operate across a range of different models and genres, but have a shared ethos around youth dance practice.

TNA supports this network by convening committee meetings and sector gatherings, providing administrative support for the committee, and maintaining the YDA website.

Youth Arts Chairs' Network

In 2023 TNA created a network of Chairs of performance with/for/by young people organisations, bringing together Chairs, or other nominated Board representatives, for peer learning and discussion, with an emphasis on sharing best practices for governance and supporting the work of our artists. The network allows Chairs and Boards to build a greater awareness of the context their organisations are operating in, access resources to strengthen their work, form relationships with counterparts across the country, and find solidarity in the work we all do together.

The Chairs’ Network will link in and make use of the resources Creative Australia is currently creating to support good governance in the sector.

TNA believes that connecting and galvanising Boards is just one small way we can strengthen the sector and make our organisations more competitive in the funding landscape, while not adding to the workload of already overworked staff.

Directors in TYA Exchange

Directors in Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) – An International Exchange, known globally also as the “International Directors’ Seminar”, occurs biennially. TNA as the Australian national centre for ASSITEJ selects one director to attend, decided through an EOI process. The program is open to independent or organisation-based directors in the field of Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) and it is open to all genres and forms of performing arts for young audiences.

A list of all previous participants, including Australians who have attended since 1984, is here.

In 2023 TNA supported Kulkalgal and Kawrareg woman, Rita Pryce to attend. Rita was born and raised in Zenadth Kes, Torres Strait Islands, and currently based in Gimuy/Cairns, where she is Artistic Director/CEO of the Pryce Centre for Culture and Arts.