February 14 is a special day. For most, it’s a day to celebrate love. For VYT, it’s a day to celebrate a birthday. Seven years ago on Valentine’s Day, VYT was incorporated and officially became a partner of the Village Players.
VYT was founded, as its mission states, to offer theatrical programs that inspire and challenge young actors to develop their artistic talents and their self-confidence, self-awareness, compassion and leadership and teamwork skills. The famous playwright, Luis Valdez once said: “To whom does the future belong? It belongs to those who can imagine it.” VYT hopes that its theatrical arts programs inspire our young actors’ creativity and imagination, develop their talents and confidence, and cultivate in them a passion for life-long exploration and enjoyment of the arts.
We’ve grown quite a bit since our first auditions in April 2007. Then we cast all 28 of the young actors who auditioned for our first show, Cinderella. Today our auditions routinely draw between 75 and 100 young actors and our casts typically number 40. (Almost a double-edged sword as we’d love to be able to cast all who audition.) Six years ago we added a Summer Theater Arts Camp which includes four weeks of workshops in acting, singing, dance and as well as the performance of a full-length musical.
A number of people have been instrumental in helping us grow over the years. Our production and camp team members Stephanie Nichols, Debbie Tedrick, Shelley Fager-Bajorek, John Rutherford and Trish Willington have nurtured our young talent and created fun and dynamic experiences for our young actors. Our Board of Directors, Cathie Badalamenti, DeAnn Forbes Ervin, Tim Wittlinger, Susie Gardiner and John Rutherford, are committed to ensuring that we provide amazing educational theater experiences for our young actors. Since our beginning, Steve Roberts has consistently supported our program.
VYT is grateful to the Village Players for sharing its venue with us. VYT enjoys being a part of VP’s wonderful theater community and our youth love performing on the VP stage. To them, the playhouse is magical, from the green room to the dressing and makeup rooms to the theater ghost(s). Thanks to all of the VP members that have supported our growth over the years. Many of you have joined us on stage, back stage and in our audience. We hope you will continue to do so.
So on this and every Valentine’s Day, let us celebrate romantic love and the love of theater, especially VYT!