June 17, 2020 – Theatre for Young Audiences USA (TYA/USA) in partnership with the Center for Scholars & Storytellers (CSS), based at UCLA, announces the release of the Exploring the Landscape of Live Theatre for Young Audiences in the US Report. Initiated last year by the leadership of TYA theatres across the country who were interested in understanding and confronting the inequity across the industry, the study was commissioned by TYA/USA to provide concrete data as a tool for meaningful change and accountability. Key findings demonstrate that the TYA industry has made strides for increased representation in terms of gender and race across the last decade, but racial diversity in live theatre for young people is not yet representative of the US population. The study showed that productions by POC playwrights nearly doubled in the last decade, but the overall total was still only 20% in the 2018/19 season. Moreover, productions helmed by POC directors accounted for 15% of the 2018/19 season. Examining the national landscape in this way provides an important step in creating an equitable TYA industry that represents all children and families across the US.
This landmark study offers the first-ever analysis of representation of gender and racial diversity of this scale to be conducted of the plays being produced for young audiences across the country, including the stories that are presented and the actors, playwrights, and directors who create them. TYA/USA was inspired to pursue this research based on the work of the Artists’ Anti-Racism Coalition and their efforts to collect similar data across the Off-Broadway community. Compiled by the Center for Scholars & Storytellers, the report shares data representing the productions from TYA/USA member theatres across the 2018/19 season and compares it to the 2008/09 season. Research demonstrates that diverse representation is an issue across disciplines and media, supporting the need for studies like this one to illuminate the significant work left to achieve.