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.
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 started participating in shows at PYT as a 12 year old looking for a new theatre experience with a new youth theatre company. I grew up with PYT performing in their productions and eventually working for them both as choreographer and class instructor. I am also now an active member of the PYT Alumni Association (PYTAA), serving on the Alumni Council since 2008. PYT has given me so many opportunities to learn, make new friends, and grow with a supportive and nurturung theatre family. The company is dedicated to creating the best theatre experience for kids and I will always be grateful for my time spent with them.
My daughter's involvement with PYT has been a very rewarding experience all around. She has participated in numerous productions that have provided her with expertise teaching and have encouraged her growth and self confidence. She has had the opportunity to volunteer and work directly with the kids which is a great way for her to give back to the community. Recently she traveled with a choral group from PYT that performed and participated in a workshop at Disneyland.
If your child has any theater interest, try out Peninsula Youth Theater in Mountain View. You will not be disappointed. They have many different types of theater programs on site and through local school or camps. My youngest son has been involved with PYT for almost 3 years and it is the best thing he has done to promote self confidence and his theatrical talents...