Jill Adamson - Participation Coaching for Theatre

Wednesday 3 July 2013

Jill Adamson was Chief Executive of NAYT for 6 years with a long established history of working in youth theatre, participation & education.  Details below on her freelance coaching:


Jill Adamson

Participation and Cultural Learning Coach

I am a theatre practitioner with over 25 years experience, specialising in work for, by and with young people and devising and delivering programmes of participation and creative learning for all ages.

From 2002 to 2007 I was Director of Education at York Theatre Royal, where I established the education department and youth theatre. I have recently completed six years as Chief Executive for the National Association of Youth Theatres, where I worked with over 1,300 youth theatres and gained a valuable national overview and insight into theatre participation in the UK.

We all understand that access to the arts is a human right and that young people are entitled to have access to our theatres as participants and as audiences. We also need to engage and involve them as ambassadors and as leaders and visionaries of future provision.

Having left NAYT after re structuring because of 100% funding cuts, I’m motivated, via genuine concern for the sector, to support participation work because of the huge challenges facing our theatres, schools, youth theatres and the broader cultural community. This new bespoke coaching I’m offering will be tailored to meet the diverse and individual needs of each theatre from a health check and to an open exploration of potential new ways forward, problem solving and finding sustainable solutions. I’m also interested in coaching teams or individuals in project management, evaluation, research and organisational development.

I work creatively and empower people to feel more confident in their workplace.

·         Is your participation programme fit for purpose in the current climate?

·         Does your participation programme achieve its full potential for your theatre and for the community it serves?

·         Is your participation programme fully integrated across the whole theatre?

·         Could there be new ways of increasing participation?

·         What percentage of local schools, colleges and universities currently engage with your theatre?

·         Are current resources being used effectively and efficiently?

·         Are your programmes of work fundable/affordable and where will the funding come from?

·         What future role can your theatre take in education and creative learning to counter the national curriculum’s exclusion of the arts?

Now is the right time to re think Participation, Creative Learning and Community Engagement in order to safeguard its future in your theatre! If you would like to work with me, please get in touch for an informal discussion. My fees are affordable and negotiable.

Jill Adamson

Participation and Cultural Education Coaching

[email protected]  07775951912


Jill Adamson has bought a wealth of knowledge and expertise to Graeae. She supported our Training + Learning Manager Jodi Bickerton in the early days of her appointment which gave her the confidence to embrace participation wholly and tools to challenge inequality of access within youth theatre provision.
Jill and I lead a series of intensive workshops for youth theatre practitioners across UK to dismantle the fear of working with Deaf and physically disabled young people. The workshops were detailed, informative and engaged on many levels. She is an inspiring tutor who is sensitive yet direct in her approach. This combined with her passion and belief that theatre can change lives underpins everything she does. Jenny Sealey, Artistic Director, Graeae Theatre.


Jill is a dedicated and highly skilled practitioner who’s awareness of the current challenges within the arts and ability to meet them with a creative response, will be of great value to any organisation she works with. Her expertise is working with young people and establishing valuable lasting relationships with the community which benefit the overall culture of an organisation. Her insight and understanding of how to build new relationships, however, is relevant to a far wider constituency and in such is invaluable to all of those working within the creative sector. Damian Cruden, Artistic Director, York Theatre Royal.

Jill is an exceptional strategic thinker who understands both the needs of your creative learning programme and how this can sit within the context of your venue. She is able to guide and empower staff, ensure young people and participants are consulted and help you to look at where this element of your programme sits for you on a local, regional and national level. Sarah Brigham, Artistic Director, Derby Theatre

Jill has helped countless theatres to transform the way in which they work with young people, via NAYT’s Inspire programme. She has raised the profile of Creative Learning within venues, ensuring that it is valued and supported at all levels, thereby placing the interests of young people at the centre of the organisation. Owen Calvert Lyons, Artistic Director, The Point.