Many of my earliest memories and many of my “firsts” include YPT. When I was very young, my Dad directed and choreographed several YPT shows and the memory of being in that magical building is palpable. I remember the downstairs snack bar and giant chocolate chip cookies and cucumber sandwiches, which must have been served during the run of Alice. I remember the day my Dad gave me my beautiful hand-made Alice doll, created by the production’s designer. I remember seeing Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang for the first time and wanting so badly to be the heroic Intrepid Shapiro. I remember fashioning a cape out of a blanket and proudly wearing the Child Power button I got at the theatre. Decades later, my dream came true when Allen MacInnis cast me in the role of Emma/Intrepid Shapiro in his production of Jacob Two-Two. This launched my Toronto acting career, as it was the job that brought me back to the city after graduating from theatre school – my first professional acting job in Toronto. It also began my relationship with YPT as a grownup. Over the years, YPT has provided me with artistic and professional growth, some of the most meaningful theatrical experiences of my career, opportunities to travel across the country – my first visits to Vancouver, Edmonton and Winnipeg. Through YPT I have developed a great number of lasting friendships I cherish to this day. And when my daughter Mia was a year and a half, I brought her to see her first play (Seussical) at YPT. Cataloguing these memories makes me realize how much of myself has been informed by this very special institution, and the inspiring friends and colleagues whom I’ve met within its walls. From my first memories of going to the theatre with my family, to becoming an actor and artist-educator, to developing and running theatre education programming for youth with my own company, to becoming a mother and delighting in each opportunity to bring my children to theatre – these memories all trace back to YPT. Happy 50th anniversary, YPT! Thank you for a lifetime of memories and I look forward to the many memories we will continue to make together.
With deepest gratitude, love and admiration, Jessica Greenberg