This year, still in the eye of the hurricane and facing all the obstacles presented by Covid, we sought a way for our youth’s voices to be heard in this “online reality”. After spending their days in Zoom classrooms, we needed to provide students with a YTP that would energize their creativity and allow them to explore different avenues of expression.
What we discovered being online offered us the ability to not only expand on the types of artistic disciplines we were able to introduce, but we were also able to extend our reach and provide access to youth participants across the greater Bay Area.
As you will see, the YTP class of 2021’s productivity exploded, as did the idea of presenting their new works on our newly launched YTP Entertainment Network
"Resilience. Though we were forced to pivot and reimagine this year’s Youth Theater Project, everyone dove in headfirst. Almost everything about our program had to change this year. Instead of being in the same room to play and improv, all exercises had to be adapted for Zoom. Instead of eating meals together and working in the same space, we all worked from our living rooms or bedrooms.
Instead of writing one or two big plays, we focused on individual or small group scenes or skits to showcase the skills that we practiced. Much was unknown and everything was an experiment. Sometimes that’s the best way to do it. Go with the flow. Dare to make mistakes. Practice resilience. Zoom can be awkward and can feel disconnected. But at the same time, I have never felt closer to a group of people that I’ve never actually met in person. I am amazed at this group’s bravery and patience. Thank you for bringing your genuine selves to our stage, our screens. I hope I can meet each and everyone of you in person!"
- Annie Simmons (Lead Teacher for Rogue Broccoli)
"It was clear that this fledging ensemble was a force to be reckoned with the moment Group 2 renamed itself the Lettuce Frogs. Passionate and productive they took to the collaborative process like, well, frogs to water. Smart, funny and inventive they have exhibited the necessary qualities to create good satire and parody while challenging the status quo.
From wide across the Bay Area, beginning as total strangers this group bonded with empathy, kindness and a mutual respect that was a lesson in building community. Like everything else during these pandemic days, we had rocky patches but there has never been a moment when I didn’t see them work as a team supporting each other. It is that kind of collective determination that will make this next gen one of history’s best gens. Watch and see."
- Ellen Callas (Lead Teacher for Lettuce Frogs)
"The students of the self-named “Jesting Gestures” cohort are remarkable: supportive of each other, respectful, generous -- and resilient. Instead of feeling the constraints of online learning, these students ran with the challenge (occasional connectivity issues notwithstanding). Some of them took up the challenge with considerable technical expertise. The result from this talented group is video ART.
Some of our participants joined YTP because they wanted to get out of their comfort zone and try something new. Others were drawn because they already knew they loved making theater. Still others because for them politics and art is a potent brew and they wanted to try their hand.
I admire them all. And knowing them has made me feel confident about the future."
- Andrea Snow (Lead Teacher for Jesting Gestures)