I began acting in YMTC when I was 14 years old. Being a part of such a strong community that allowed me to express myself creatively while working with others to create something positive (a show!) completely changed my life. I had been acting since I was five years old,
Mission: YMTC (Youth Musical Theater Company) is a non-profit, Berkeley-based company which produces professional caliber musical theater while providing exceptional theater training to students from the 7th grade through university level. We bring together the Bay Area’s most talented and dedicated young singer/actors with professional directors, designers, and musicians to create theater that takes on challenging and sophisticated musical and dramatic themes, and that is always accompanied by a full, live orchestra.
From the time it incorporated as a non-profit in 2004, YMTC has grown into a year round production company, producing three fully mounted musicals as well as small scale workshop productions and training workshops throughout the year. Many YMTC graduates have gone on to study music and theater at some of the best conservatories in the United States and abroad; all of them, wherever they go, take with them confidence, empathy, responsibility, and the capacity to imagine.
We passionately believe that when young people have opportunities to participate in exceptional training in the arts, they are becoming not only the next generation of artists and arts appreciators, but the next generation of engaged citizens: empowered to pay attention, communicate, and energetically participate in a collaborative process.
Programs: Musical theater productions. During 2013-14, ymtc mounted three full scale productions, involving about 40 students in each production either on or off stage, being trained by and working alongside 7 to 10 theater professionals. The productions were accompanied by between 6 and 30 professional live musicians. The productions spanned a rehearsal period ranging from 4 to 10 weeks each and were produced in a professional theater venue with a total of 18 performances for the public.
musical theater education workshops. Five separate workshops were offered during the year, each one training from 8 to 24 students. They were taught by professional teaching artists working in theater in the bay area. Enrollment was non-competitive and on a first-come, first-serve basis. Students were taught skills in character development, improvisation techniques, vocal techniques, movement, musical theater literature, dance, audition skills, and good rehearsal practices. In addition, ymtc conducted a workshop, with 20 students, to assist in the development of a new musical, written by an award-winning composer and playwright.
I began acting in YMTC when I was 14 years old. Being a part of such a strong community that allowed me to express myself creatively while working with others to create something positive (a show!) completely changed my life. I had been acting since I was five years old, however, YMTC really gave me my sea legs as a performer. Jennifer always emphasizes the positive, while still expecting a high level from the youth performers. She thereby makes those participating feel confident in their skills and also raises the bar, helping the performers grow together. I believe that people, especially youth, will rise to the bar that is set for them. In public schools often expectations are set low. Having a chance to be challenged in high school, and to feel like what I loved to do (theatre) was important, changed my life. I am now 22 years old. I just graduated from Boston University with B.F.A in Theatre Arts-Performance. I recently moved back to the Bay Area. I just finished an internship with Berkeley Rep and I am about to be in a dance theatre piece that will be at the San Francisco Fringe festival. I feel lucky to be making theatre in the world! Who knows what this next year will bring, but I feel confident that I have the tools to meet whatever challenges come, and I know that I have the passion and belief in theatre to continue performing. I believe that this all started in a large part with YMTC. During one summer break while I was in school, Jennifer let me be a directing intern for Les Miserables, as well as co-teach some YMTC youth summer workshops. I believe that this inviting of alumni back into the community to be teachers and inspire youth in the way that we were inspired, is yet another amazing and valuable thing that YMTC does. YMTC is incredibly important, now more than ever, because it teaches children that art is fun, vital, and powerful. YMTC teaches positive communication, collaboration, listening, and of course practical techniques of acting, singing, and dancing. But most of all, YMTC gives young performers confidence and an outlet for creative fun, and for that I, and many others I know, will be forever grateful.
Aside from the astounding quality of the shows, I think the very special thing about YMTC is the absolute commitment to training the kids with real challenges and real skills. This organization truly, truly gives enormous benefit to its community and to the arts everywhere... Be on the lookout in the coming years for prodigious accomplishments by their alumni. We are lucky to have YMTC.