Established in 1984
Established in 1984 as the Victorian Children’s Theatre, early classes were run in a church hall in East Kew. Demand for classes soon grew beyond the capacity of the venue, and the organisation expanded to six locations around Melbourne. While early classes had been offered to Primary School students only, the addition of teenage classes led to the formation of the Victorian Youth Theatre (VYT). Most recently, to align with the company’s other streams of training, the name has changed to the Australian Youth Theatre.
By 1996 the VYT had several hundred students across Melbourne, and embarked upon its first touring ventures, a production of A Well Spun Yarn which visited the Adelaide Fringe Festival in March 1996, and toured five American cities and towns in September of the same year. The VYT subsequently commissioned another touring piece, Back to Bacchus, which toured to Europe in 1997, USA in 1999, and Europe once again in 2002 and 2004.
In 2004, to celebrate its 20th Anniversary, the VYT mounted a season of original Australian works at the Beckett Theatre, The Malthouse Theatre. During this season, over 700 students had the opportunity to perform in this landmark venue.
In 2014, to celebrate the company’s 30th Anniversary the VYT revived Peter Brook’s epic play The Conference of the Birds as part of The Melbourne Fringe Festival at Chapel Off Chapel Theatre.