Location of Waterford, Ireland

View of Waterford, Ireland

WATERFORD is the largest city in southeast Ireland. It's a dynamic cultural and economic centre with a long and varied history. The population of the City is 50,000, and it has a large catchment area. For more information about Waterford, click here.

WATERFORD YOUTH ARTS (formerly known as Waterford Youth Drama) is a youth and community arts resource which enables young people to participate in creative activity as a means of self-expression and development in a safe, professional and enjoyable environment.

WYA is recognised nationally as one of the country's leading youth arts organisations, and each week over 400 young people take part in its activities.

Established in August 1985 as WYD, WYA has grown from the voluntary efforts of two individuals and 25 young people to a fully-structured youth arts organisation with a paid staff.


Waterford Youth Arts provides a comprehensive quality response to the creative aspirations and developmental needs of young people in the Southeast.





These girls really hate each other

To the general public, the most visible aspect of WYA is its drama, dance and film productions. But WYA is primarily an educational organisation, and its main activity is operating its Workshops.

WYA runs drama, dance, film, creative writing and visual arts Workshops throughout the year for young people. These Workshops take place every week and are run by professional tutors.





Get into video!

Waterford Youth Arts provides an outlet for artistic expression among young people. Youth arts activity is a proven method of personal development and education. Through youth arts, WYA aims to:

  • enable young people to articulate their needs clearly in a safe group

  • enable young people to develop interpersonal skills, such as confidence, social interaction, responsibility sharing, planning, decision making, and problem sharing

  • introduce young people to new and innovative elements of the arts

  • provide training and education in creative skills

WYA is always interested in finding new potential adult leaders. We offer in-service training and huge challenges. Are you interested? If so, ring WYA at 051-879377. (WYA operates a screening process to ensure safety within the organisation.)





Meet new friends!

Waterford Youth Arts is clearly committed to communities, in particular communities experiencing disadvantage. At the very core of the work of WYA is the Outreach Drama Workshop Programme. Outreaching into four communities in Waterford, weekly workshops in drama are led by experienced drama tutors. The workshop programme is very strong, with groups over-subscribed in some areas.

WYA is grant aided by The Arts Council - An Chomhairle Eireann, FAS, Waterford City Council, City of Waterford VEC Waterford Youth Committee, The Ireland Funds.

WYA also has a Corporate Friend and Patron Scheme to encourage Companies and individual business people to support the work of creative young people.

If you'd like to advertise in the programme of the next WYA production, or help WYA in some other way, ring Cathy Hanrahan (Administrator). Click here for contact information.


Act! Act! ACT!

Waterford Youth Arts promotes access for all young people to the creative arts, in particular young people from disadvantaged areas. WYA delivers community-focused programmes in areas of Waterford which in general are lacking an arts tradition, e.g. inner city areas and urban housing estates. We positively encourage the involvement of young people with special needs.

WYA is founded on the principles of youth work and has strong working links with other youth and community groups in Waterford.

'Waterford Youth Drama is a valued and respected part of Waterford life' - Vivien Hewington, Cambridge Arts Theatre

'Youth Drama is alive and kicking in Waterford' - The Examiner

'A regional resource for younger audiences'- The Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaion

'I was particularly impressed by the level of professionalism in the company' - B.T. National Connections Assessor

'I was simply blown away by the sheer intelligence, ingenuity, dynamism and level of collective performance demonstrated by WYD...Unreserved praise then for all concerned' - Declan Hassett, Examiner

30 years a growing...


"Claire Hayes said to Ted O’ Regan, 'Ted, wouldn’t it be great to have a drama group for young people now that Ciotóg is finished?' (Ciotóg was the first Theatre In Education Company in the Southeast.)

"Ted said 'T'wud'.

"A group of young people came together at Garter Lane Arts Centre in 1985 for drama under the leadership of Claire Hayes and Ollie Breslin, to become known subsequently as Waterford Youth Drama."

--from a piece by Claire Hayes


The staff in 1994 L to R: Ollie Breslin (artistic director), Liz Kearney (drama worker), Fiona McDermott (office manager), Cathy Hanrahan (administrator)

And Now...

Waterford Youth Arts is recognised nationally and internationally as one of the largest and longest-established youth arts organisations in Ireland. WYA‘s Outreach Drama Workshop Programme is one of the largest of its kind in the country for young people.

Since 1985, Waterford Youth Arts has managed to reach out to over 7000 young people, encouraging and facilitating them to explore their creativity and collaborate with professional artists and practitioners.

Waterford Youth Arts incorporates three departments working in different art forms - Waterford Youth Drama, WYD-Eye Film Unit and WYDMoves Contemporary Youth Dance.

In December 2005, Waterford Youth Arts took possession of the anchor tenancy of The Arch, Barrack Street, a milestone development for the organisation's 21st anniversary year. Waterford Youth Arts has a ‘home’ and lovely studio/rehearsal space in which to work with young people. The Arch is also made available to the community.

Waterford Youth Arts continues to produce youth theatre, commission new writing, collaborate with professional artists, produce award winning short films, create innovative contemporary youth dance productions, co-produce works with others, participate in international youth arts projects, is a regional arts resource to youth and community work and supports people with special needs to become theatre-makers.

All of this is enabled through the efforts and support of Waterford Youth Arts’ funders, volunteers, voluntary management committee members, helpers, parents, the staff team and the benefit in kind extended by those in the business community and our colleagues in the arts sector locally.

Many have put their shoulder to the wheel over the last 25 years. You know who you are; we thank you.


Click here for some memories by an early member

Ted O'Regan (1931-2003)

Jim Daly (1952-2009)