The MCC Theater Youth Company is a free, after-school program for New York City high school students interested in developing their acting and dramatic writing skills. Within a creative, challenging, and supportive environment, teenagers from five boroughs participate in weekly workshops (Labs) led by professional theater artists.
Our students are encouraged to discover and explore their unique artistic voices as they work together to create and perform original work. Authenticity, originality, energy, honesty, enthusiasm… all of their experiences are essential to the process. Through collaboration, YC members form a supportive ensemble of young artists in an inspiring environment where they are free to experiment, make bold choices, and take risks.
The Youth Company is split into four distinct groups: the Performance Lab, the Playwriting Lab, the Brooklyn Youth Company, and the Ambassadors. Performance Lab students meet every week with professional ACTOR/DIRECTOR JEN SHIRLEY to develop skills in voice, movement, monologue and dialogue. The year culminates with the annual spring production of UnCensored. Playwriting Lab students meet every week with professional PLAYWRIGHT LUCY THURBER to develop skills in dramatic writing. In the spring, students write individual short plays, the best of which are produced by professional actors and directors in July/August during The FreshPlay Festival. The Brooklyn Youth Company is our satellite youth company that meets every week, with a similar format to Performance Lab, within an eleven-week time frame in the fall, that culminates with an annual December production of BKYC UnCensored. The Ambassadors meet weekly with Director of Public Engagement and Education, Carrie Azano, to learn about how a theater runs through conversations with MCC Staff members, other theater companies, and artists involved with mainstage productions. Ambassadors assist as producers for UnCensored and On the Fly.
Veteran Youth Company members also have the opportunity to work with distinguished professionals in master classes, in which the highest tier of theater experts impart their wisdom, experience, and skills upon our YC members. Past master class leaders have included PLAYWRIGHT and ACTOR JOCELYN BIOH (School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play), SCENIC DESIGNER RACHEL HAUCK (Hadestown, All the Ways to Say I Love You), DIRECTOR MORITZ VON STUELPNAGEL (Present Laughter, Hand to God).
Youth Company Programs
The Performance Lab
Led by DIRECTOR JEN SHIRLEY, Youth Company actors develop their performance skills through weekly workshops in improvisation, scene-study, movement, and voice. Actors also participate in writing workshops, which result in the development of original works that are performed by the ensemble, including the annual spring production UNCENSORED.
The Playwriting Lab
Playwriting Lab members develop original scripts in weekly workshops. Under the tutelage of professional PLAYWRIGHT LUCY THURBER, young writers learn about monologue, dialogue, setting, conflict, and character. Playwriting Lab members are pushed to expand their definition of what “theatrical” means. Each month, one or more short plays enjoy public readings with professional actors. After hearing and seeing their works-in-progress on stage, writers develop their scripts, using the same process employed by professional playwrights. Playwrights’ scripts come to vibrant life in the FreshPlay Festival every July/August.
The Youth Company Ambassadors
The Ambassador program brings a small group of YC members together to be introduced to the full range of skills, techniques and ideas which are essential to professional theater. YCA’s meet regularly with theater administrators, actors, directors and designers, and will in turn act as advocates for MCC Theater and arts education. YCA’s become active producers for UnCensored and The FreshPlay Festival. For more information, email [email protected]
The Brooklyn Youth Company
The BKYC is our satellite youth company located in East Flatbush, based on our Performance Lab model. This ensemble of students grades 9-12 from High School for Public Service meet weekly from October-December to explore their artistic voices and the tools they need to theatricalize their words. Like the other branches of the YC, the BKYC perform in their own UnCensored production and participate in master classes and theater visits. In the spring, members of the BKYC are invited to join the BKYC T.O. Troupe to explore issues in their community through theater, utilizing techniques from Augusto Boal’s Theater of the Oppressed.
How to Join
The MCC Theater Youth Company seeks dedicated, enthusiastic and responsible young people for its Performance and Playwrighting Labs. Company members may be a part of one or both Labs.
- Between the ages of 14-19 and live in New York City
- Currently enrolled public high school students when they join the company
- Have a strong interest in participating in the dramatic arts
- Open-minded and willing to take risks
- Committed to consistent attendance at workshops and rehearsals
- Accepted into the company based on effort, not previous theater experience
Every fall, an orientation is held for potential members. Please call MCC Theater’s Director of Public Engagement and Education at (212) 727-7722 ext. 222, to discuss admission into the company.
To receive updates about the Youth Company, send an email to [email protected] asking to be added to the Youth Company Mailing List.
DEC 12 – 13, 2018
Our satellite youth company kicks off our season with their evening of monologues, scenes, dance and music, all written and created by the Brooklyn Youth Company over the course of eleven weeks. This year’s theme will explore the power of a passport- to your mind, to the world, to freedom. For reservations email [email protected].
APR 25 – 29 / MAY 2-4, 2019
An exhilarating evening of student-written monologues, scenes, music, and ensemble pieces, UnCensored is a celebration of the work developed by our Acting Lab over the year. Our young artists write, develop, rehearse and perform their original show for multiple performances at an Off-Broadway theater every spring.
The FreshPlay Festival
The FreshPlay Festival is a collection of plays written by members of the Playwriting Lab and selected for a full workshop process and staged reading. The YC playwrights work side by side with seasoned directors, designers, dramaturgs, and actors to bring their plays to life in a weekend-long festival.
THE ROBERT W. WILSON MCC THEATER SPACE
Our new home in Hell’s Kitchen allows us to deepen our mission and encourage greater collaboration among all of our ARTISTS, STUDENTS, and AUDIENCES.