In our youth theatre workshops, one of our main aims is to develop children’s and young adults’ self-esteem and confidence. I want them to be able to explore and express themselves in front of their peers in a safe environment. They won’t be judged, just encouraged to explore and play. If pupils are pretending to be a pirate or a doctor or any other character, I want them to trust that they are in a caring place that praises this level of creativity and bravery.
Social media is so powerful. It has many positives and I have a Facebook page to promote The Tinderbox. However, my promise to the Youth Theatre is that I will never put a photograph of them, in workshops, rehearsals and performances, onto any of my social media platforms. Why? Social media invites the audience to readily respond, to cast a judgement on what they see. You can press a LIKE button, or leave a comment. On the other hand, you don’t press the LIKE button and you don’t leave a comment. With young people who are in the midst of finding out who they are and forming opinions about themselves, but also with a constant and eager eye on social media, I wouldn’t want their confidence and self-esteem to be damaged (even if unintentionally) by an interaction online.
I will celebrate all youth theatre members’ achievements, large and small, by posting photographs onto The Tinderbox website. It will be a gallery of the children’s successes. The monthly Newsletter to parents and carers will also include photographs of children in workshops and performances. Permission will always be asked for when using photographs of the children in newspapers, magazines and posters, when promoting the centre’s work.