I was invited to see a performance of The Wizard of Oz with my wife and 3 girls a number of years ago. I had not been into the theater in over 20 years and now seeing it through both adult eyes and the eyes of my girls it made me realize how special the YPT experience can be for all ages. Shortly after I agreed to join the board and we ernolled two of our girls in drama classes. We have enjoyed many fun, interesting and educational performances over the years as a family. YPT is a very special place and we are fortunate to have it in our great city!
My friend and I took our daughters to YPT to see the production of “Hana’s Suitcase”. The girls had read the book and this was a wonderful adaptation that allowed the girls to enjoy live theatre and discuss artistic changes when moving between different mediums. The experience was a fantastic mother-daughter outing. Thank you for the fabulous live theatre experience and for tackling works that speak to young people.
When I first immigrated from California to Toronto, I volunteered as an usher at what was then, the Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People. The groundbreaking premiere of Hana’s Suitcase was on the Mainstage and this was my introduction to YPT: An incredible and moving story about a young girl murdered in the Holocaust and the amazing global connections created by students in Japan who insisted on answering the question, “Who was Hana Brady?” The quality of the production was top notch. I was moved to tears each time I saw it week after week while fulfilling my ushering duties. YPT hosted a viewing of the play with George Brady, Hana’s surviving brother who had settled in Toronto as an adult. I was honoured to meet him and hear his personal account of his role in bringing Hana’s story to the people of Toronto through children’s theatre.
Once I was teaching, I was able to bring classes to YPT to see such plays as The Princess and the Handmaiden, A Year with Frog and Toad, (one of the best productions for children I have ever seen) Baobab, and Seussical. During the 2013-14 school year my grade one students were fortunate to visit YPT an unlikely three times. We attended A Story Before Time in the fall, allowing the students to view a legend told through dance. As winter came upon us, YPT put out a last minute offer to see the musical Annie at the extraordinary price of $5.00. We managed to put the trip together in a few short days with the help of parents who understand the many benefits children reap by attending live theatre. We wrapped up the year with a spring viewing of Paper Song in the studio. Getting to go to the theatre three times in one school year was astounding and I witnessed such positive growth in my students from doing so. Our theatre trips truly helped shape the students’ learning for the year and inspired the storytellers within each of them.
My current class – with nine parents in tow – just viewed Snow Angel, but YPT has been more than a dependable quality theatre experience for my young primary students; it has also been a place which has provided personal connections to the community for myself. I have taken a voice workshop for teachers in the studio, attended teacher preview nights, special events, and introductions for Prologue to the Performing Arts all at YPT. Young Peoples Theatre has truly been a valued and meaningful place for me during the decade I have been in Toronto.
Congratulations YPT for Fifty Years of bringing theatre magic to children and young people. I thank you for being a vital hub in the community and an integral part of my personal experience of living in Toronto.
~ Kelly Crosthwaite
There was a moment, seconds before the end of “Seussical”, when I had to turn to the audience and say “And can you guess what happens next?” And I’ll never forget this one performance, where I turned and said the line to the audience and a little girl in the front row looked up at me and said (in an odd kind of crypt-keeper voice): “Daaaarknessss.”
My mom always took myself and a friend when I was little and I loved going! I went to a ton, but I remember “Willie the Sqwouse” and “Jacob Two-Two and the Hooded Fang” the most.
I remember coming to YPT and always puts a smile on my face. This Theatre is where Sharon, Lois & Bram’s Elephant Show was performed right her at YPT witch some of you may remember. Sharon, Lois & Bram also taught at YPT as well. This Theatre will always be my favorite theater ever and always will be.
I go to Toronto all the time to just to see and visit The Young People’s Theatre.
When my four children were growing up in the ’70’s and ’80’s we were all regular visitors to the YPT where so many marvellous shows for children were produced and performed. The one show that stands out in my memory is Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. It was an amazing colourful production with wonderful songs. Of course it was made more memorable to me because my two eldest children were chosen to sing in the choir which accompanied the production. We all knew the music so well and were so enthralled to see my daughters perform with the cast. YPT gave my children an education in the theatre for which I will always be grateful. Thank you YPT.
Patricia Mary Clarke
While I have certainly enjoyed attending many YPT productions as both a child and an adult over the years, some of my fondest memories are from its 20th season when I worked there part-time as an usher during high school. I was thrilled to have a job in the theatre. Each shift, you were assigned a different role: perhaps you were working the snack bar during the chaotic rush at intermission or “guarding” the stage before the performance so that little ones wouldn’t scramble up onto the realistic set which included a giant tree. My favourite job was greeting patrons as they arrived at the show, handing out programs and then, once any latecomers were seated, watching the performance. I have always enjoyed the theatre, whether I am onstage, backstage or in the audience, so being a YPT usher for a brief time was the perfect job for me!
As an educator for 29 years I have enjoyed countless productions at YPT with hundreds of students. Such wonderful memories of incredible productions in a warm and inviting setting. It’s been a joy for all of us!
Two of my most successful plays were commissioned by YPT: Anne and The Secret Garden went on to have multiple productions across Canada. A third, Merlin, while not as critically acclaimed here in Toronto, also did well for the theatre and has been produced from sea to shining sea (Vancouver to Halifax). So needless to say I feel honored and grateful to have been part of the YPT family. But in many ways what I cherish most was bringing my two nieces to so many wonderful productions . They’re both grown now, but from time to time they bring up those nights when they had their first taste of the magic of live theatre. I think it is fair to say no company in Toronto is more responsible for the ongoing success of the performing arts in this city because down on Front Street new generations of theatre goers and artists were introduced to that magic – Paul Ledoux, Playwright.