History

Simon Stokes, Melaine Hickson, Toni Collette and Thomasin Litchfield in ATYP’s All Stops Out, 1989. Photo: Robert McFarlane ©

The Australian Theatre for Young People (ATYP) came to life after a series of meetings, beginning in 1963, at the behest of playwright, Eleanor Witcombe, with theatre artists, playwrights and educators, who decided to establish a company to produce professional, high-quality theatre for young people. A committee was formally constituted in early 1964, with members, Alastair Duncan (Chairman), Diana Sharpe (Secretary), Nigel Lovell (Treasurer) and Ellis Irving, Owen Weingott and Wendy Blacklock. The name of the new company was the subject of many meetings, and a decision was made to use ATYP as an interim measure. The name remains the same after all these years, and still best reflects the ethos of the company.

 

John Gaden and John Norman in ATYP’s Hoddel’s Remarkable Handcart, 1971.  Photo: © ATYP

The company's very first production was a comedy: She Stoops to Conquer – Goldsmith Examined, by Irish playwright Oliver Goldsmith, adapted and directed by Owen Weingott. It opened on the 1st of August, 1964, touring schools in metropolitan Sydney, with a cast that included Owen Weingott, Barry Creyton and Reginald Livermore.

ATYP's first major production, a commission, Hullabaloo Belay! The Whitby Adventure by Barbara Vernon, was about James Cook before his voyage to Australia. Directed by Nigel Lovell, it cost 1,500 Pounds Stirling to mount. Opening on the 26th of December, 1964 at the St James Playhouse, it then toured to Orange, Dubbo, Warren, Cobar, from 26 Feb, 1965.

 

Costume design for Hullabaloo Belay! The Whitby Adventure, 1964. Photo: © ATYP

In ATYP's formative years, productions were performed by adults for young people. Their young audience would not be involved in the company until 1967, when a workshop programme was established for young participants between 10-15 years old, in response to demand.

 

The Artistic Directors of ATYP throughout the years:

1964       Nigel Lovell (Producer)

1965       Alistair Duncan (Producer)

1973       Raymond Omodei

1976       John Wregg

1981       Jane Westbrook

1984       Simon Hopkinson (Acting)

1984       Colette Rayment

1987       Rowan Greaves

1988       Mark Gaal

1991       Glen McGillivray

1992       Antoinette Blaxland

1995       Penelope Wells (Acting, while Antoinette Blaxland on maternity leave)

1996       Antoinette Blaxland

1996       Neill Gladwin

1998       Antoinette Blaxland (Acting till appointment of new AD)

1999       David Berthold

2003       Timothy Jones

2009       Fraser Corfield

 

  

Bronwyn Morgan and Nicole Kidman in ATYP’s Spring Awakening, 1984. Photo: Geoffrey Boccalatte ©

 

Huey Acuna and Toni Collette in ATYP’s Burger Brain – the Fast Food Musical, 1988. Photo: © ATYP

 

Adam Cook and Lisa Hensley in ATYP’s Multiple Choice, 1985.  Photo:  Kylie Brennan ©

 

Felix Williamson in rehearsals for ATYP’s Australia-Go-Round, 1983.  Photo:  © ATYP

ATYP has called many places 'home' over the years:

Randwick Literary Institute

National Trust, Annie Wyatt Room, Watson Rd, Observatory Hill

1965    Lindfield (Diana Sharpe’s home)

1969    Parade Theatre, Anzac Parade, Kensington, June, 1969-   (supported by Robin Lovejoy, AD, The Old Tote Theatre Company)

1969    NIDA Huts, UNSW Campus, Kensington

1972    Bailey Hall, Chatswood, 1972 summer holidays

1975    3rd floor, 48 O’Riordan Street, Alexandria, 1975-76 (Old Tote rehearsal studios?)

1975    NIDA Studios, UNSW Campus, Kensington

1979    Glebe, 7 Burton Street, Glebe

1979    (Jane Westbrook’s office at UNSW, where she tutored drama.), UNSW Campus, Kensington

1979, 1980      NIDA Studios, UNSW Campus, Kensington

1980    Cell Block Theatre, Darlinghurst

1980    Santa Sabina College, Strathfield

1980    NIDA studios, High St, Kensington, Jan (for Summertime Youth Theatre)

1981    NSW Institute of Technology, Broadway

1982    Esme` Hackett (Sucks - sic) Memorial Hall, 88 William Henry Street, Ultimo, Feb, 1982 (agreement
              with Toetruck Theatre)

1984    Myrtle Street, 3rd Floor, 82 Myrtle Street, Chippendale

1985    (Old Sailors’ Home), The Rocks Theatre, 106 George Street, The Rocks

1987    200 Cumberland Street, 200 Cumberland Street, The Rocks

1991    (Police Station) 132 George Street, The Rocks

1993    Argyle Centre, Argyle Street, The Rocks

1996    ATYP Studio 1,2, Pier 4/5, The Wharf, Hickson Road, Walsh Bay

 

ATYP at 200 Cumberland St, The Rocks, 1987-1991.

 

ATYP at 132 George St, Sydney, 1991-1993. 

 

Our current home at Pier 4/5 Hickson Rd, Walsh Bay. 1996-present.