Young Actors Theatre creates theatrical opportunities that instill confidence, creativity, and discipline in youth.
Our mission is to empower youth for life.
Young Actors Theatre was founded in 1976 by Charlotte Kaufman, an NYC actress who made her home in the midwest. From 1976 to 2005, YAT brought classic theatre training to 60 school-age students each year. Two of those students were Justin Wade and his sister Catherine, who saw something special in YAT and began assisting Charlotte with the organization. Justin assumed the role of Executive Artistic Director in 2005.
With a new team of theatre educators and creative minds, YAT began to soar. Justin honed his craft as an educator, and began to develop a new approach to theatre training. Theatre education could be more. It could be used to teach larger lessons, and build lifelong learners.
We decided: out with the pre-bought scripts, out with the monologues, out with waiting backstage 95% of the time. By incorporating world-class theatre trends like physical theatre, devised theatre, and site-specific theatre, an original brand of arts education was born in Indianapolis. Rather than starting with a script, we start with a question, a social issue, or a historical figure who embodies a particular theme. Then, our theatre educators work with students to devise a production in which the whole ensemble (not just one or two leads) tell a compelling narrative with an empowering message for student performers and student audiences.
Since 2005, Young Actors Theatre has transformed into the largest youth theatre in Indianapolis. In 2018, YAT brought Self-Empowerment Theatre to nearly 2,000 students and reached over 10,000 audience members across the state of Indiana. We work directly with youth approximately 350 days a year, and on average 75-80 hours a week. With a home base in downtown Indianapolis and performance sites across the greater Indianapolis area, we work to provide more than a stage to the youth we serve.
Young Actors Theatre is more than a theatre: we are a training ground for empathetic individuals and model citizens in Indianapolis.
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