PYT is a source of consistent joy, especially in its Stories on Stage series of works from children's literature. Adventurous and imaginative shows that are a great and affordable way for young audiences to learn about theatre and for young actors to hone their skills.
I became involved in PYT because my younger child loved acting--and because I loved watching young actors grow. I've stayed involved with PYT because I've seen how transformative a place it is: for kids, for parents, for audience members.
One of my special loves is children's literature and PYT provides a unique service in the Bay Area with its Stories on Stage performances. These are great, accessible, gold-spun-from-straw shows based on children's books--some classic, some contemporary. It's always difficult to turn your eyes away from the creative stuff that's happening on stage in these shows, but if you do, you'll see little audience members whose imaginations are being positively ignited.
Peninsula Youth Theatre provides youth in the Bay Area to learn and grow through theatrical experiences. PYT offers classes, camps, black box plays and elaborate main stage musical opportunities. All of the programs are educational, and participants enjoy the social and emotional benefits of working together as a team to produce a high-quality end product. Many kids in the community who come to see PYT shows are exposed to the performing arts for the first time. So, whether a participant, and audience member, or both, Peninsula Youth Theatre is an important resource.
Peninsula Youth Theater offers kids in our community the chance to participate in a variety of high-quality dramatic programs. From our summertime Theater in the Park camps to the educational Stories on Stage performances during the school year to our fabulous Center Stage musical productions there is something for every family. Our fabulous teachers, directors, and other artistic staff give the kids a chance to grow and learn about themselves in a positive, supportive environment.
My son's experience with the Peninsula Youth Theatre has been fabulous! As a newcomer to theater, he has been able to explore his creative side in a positive learning environment. The PYT staff is terrific in providing support, encouragement and enthusiasm for all participants regardless of their experience. PYT is a great community organization that encourages the arts for young people.
I started performing for PYT when I was eight. I didn't have any prior experience in theatrical arts or performance, but I did find singing and dancing extremely fun. During the course of my first show, I learned about performing and discovered it as my passion. I'm sixteen now, and after my nineteen shows at PYT, I have built a strong support system of friends and approachable adults with whom I maintain lasting relationships. That's one of the amazing things about PYT: the memories of a show and the frienships formed remain even after significant time has passed. The environment of the entire process is amazingly professional for a youth-based, non-profit organization, yet it is simultaneously light-hearted and extremely enjoyable. PYT has been a very positive influence in my life. It has allowed me to meet so many talented and wonderful people that I would not have been able to meet otherwise. One of my best friends lives twenty minutes away and is home schooled, and we would not have met if it had not been for our shared love of musical theaterand access to PYT. Additionally, PYT has enabled me to enrich my passion for theatrical arts with their diverse array of professional directors, choreographers, and music directors. Every staff member I have worked with has taught me a skill or been a great friend to me. The production staff always looks for a way to bring the best out of us, and they challenge us to better ourselves on a daily basis. During my eight years of working with PYT, I have learned important life lessons, built a sturdy structure of frienships, and worked to perfect my skills.
My kids have grown up with PYT starting with their wonderful program, Theater in the Park. Through these summer camps, my kids discovered their love of singing & acting. All of my kids were very shy originally & the stage has turned them into confident young adults. PYT provides an incredible program designed for all kids --- whether they want to work behind the stage, just sing in a group or be a star onstage. This type of community activity is crucial to providing access to the arts to younger people. It instills an appreciation for the arts that continues into their adult life.
PYT is our other family! We have had 3 children participate over the last 12+ years. They have each performed, worked backstage, helped with auditions and have made friendships that will last a long time. This organization is a true community.
I've been involved with Peninsula Youth Theatre (PYT) since I was about five. My older sister, Katherine, had decided to give acting a try, and being the young tot I was, I was dragged along. My sister fell in love with the stage, and I did too. It was and still is magical to see the transformations people make when they're on stage. Off stage, they could be subdued or outcasts or "losers" or whatever. But on stage, they become a new person, a better version of themselves, what they wish they could be. And for a glorious two and a half hours, they can be that person. PYT has given me and so many others the opportunity to do just that. The directors are all amazingly talented actors and actresses themselves, and guide us young actors into exploring the vast expanse of our theatrical ability. The classes are marvelous, and help shy kids come out of their shells. Theatre in the Park, a summer theatre camp geared for younger kids, is an especially great example of this. I interned over the summer for the 6-8 year old age range, and there was one child that was shy and didn't want to talk to many people except me. But because of the group activities led by the wonderful teachers and the acting/imagining exercises they did, he slowly opened himself up and started playing with the other kids. This type of progress is one of the many reasons why I love PYT. I myself experienced bullying and the feeling of not fitting in at school. But at PYT, I fit in completely. It was like I found the missing piece to my puzzle. I can't imagine life without my wonderful PYT family. Everyone there, all the staff, has watched me grow up and have all helped teach me important life lessons that I'll take into my adult life and use to continue to be successful. Best of all, I feel loved and welcomed in the familiar PYT studios. You know how people say Disneyland is the happiest place on earth? Well, in my book, Disneyland takes the back seat to PYT. There is no happier place to be, than at PYT.
I have been at PYT since I was 4 years old. I began as a Munchkin Player and just kept growing from there. I am now a seventeen year old who has participated in over 30 shows in the community just by my start at this great organization. I participate in their Stories on Stage program which is unique to this company in the sense that those who have participated in this program have grown to be very strong actors. It shapes you as an actor to really hone your skills in acting without the distraction of music and dancing. I also love that in Stories on Stage many of the roles are written with certain actors in mind. For example I can say I have been the original Slab in "How I Became A Pirate", I am the original Cayenne Kate in "Pecos Bill and the Ghost Skeletons", I am the original Mrs. Kringle in "Auntie Claus". I mean I could go on and on about how much I have learned just in that one program. I also am involved with the Dickens Carolers who go at Christmas time and dress up in Dickens era costumes and sing Christmas Carols. This is another great program because it teaches us how to be in a choral setting as well as giving us great cultural enrichment. Each year we go to many different places and spread holiday cheer. It is a great program.
Our family got involved in PYT when our daughter was in the 6th grade, and became interested in performing onstage. She appeared in multiple MainStage shows, worked as a camp counselor for PYT'sTheatre in the Park, served as President of PYT's Youth Advisory Board, and even after graduating from high school, she performed in Alumni shows. Her commitment to PYT stemmed both from the great experience and learning about all things theater that she received, but even more from the deep friendships that she maintains to this day.
PYT provides a safe and supportive environment for children of all ages to learn and grow their theatrical skills, but also their leadership and team skills, which are critical to success as adults. And it is a true family environment where my husband and I met wonderful people and truly enjoyed our volunteer experience.
I have been involved with PYT since it began. As a parent, I loved the sense of community that PYT offered me and my daughter. Everyone works hard to put on great shows, but the quality of the show is never as important as making sure that the children all have positive experiences and feel a sense of belonging. I am now a board member, and even though my daughter is too old to do PYT shows, the organization is still an important part of my life.