YMTC's 2016-2017 Annual Report
From the Founding Artistic Director
Because our 2015-2016 season was a year of slowing down, taking stock of our assets, and shoring up our infrastructure, our 2016-2017 season was one of strong fiscal and organizational health. With deep roots in Berkeley-- now that we are settled in our rehearsal and shop space in South Aquatic Park-- we were able to reach out to students and professional teaching artists from myriad schools and organizations throughout the extended Bay Area.
Our Theater Arts Apprenticeship Program (TAAP), in which students work alongside theater professionals, continues to grow. We launched our Pit Orchestra Apprenticeship program (POAP) to welcome music students to play and train with our orchestras. Our designers, directors, and teaching artists mentored students in all aspects of theater (directing, stage management, design and more) on three exciting and varied musicals over the course of the year.
Our Fall show, Into the Woods-- one of Sondheim's most beloved musicals-- was presented at the El Cerrito High Performing Arts Theater, and was a very successful remounting of a show we had produced seven years before at the Julia Morgan Theater. Our then scenic designer, Glen Epperson, returned to YMTC for this production to design and build again-- this time, working in a state-of-the-art theater with more technical capacity than before--and was able to improve and expand on our original production's design. The result was a visually stunning production.
In the winter, we returned to the Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts in Oakland, with Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater's Spring Awakening, an explosive fusion of rock music, and teenage desire. Everyone involved in the making of this production agreed that it was a singularly special production to be a part of, and audiences came back multiple times to experience the show's passion and electricity.
We finished the season, returning to the El Cerrito High Performing Arts Theater, with perhaps the most adventurous undertaking YMTC has produced yet: Frank Loesser's rarely produced operetta, The Most Happy Fella. Operatic in scope, the musical is a sweepingly romantic, three-act masterpiece. Our production featured a cast of thirty five, a backstage team of a dozen professional artists, over a dozen TAAP students, and was accompanied by a 30-piece, live orchestra.
As we head into our thirteenth season, we are stronger than ever, and ready for the growth this season holds. It will be a season of firsts: our first subscription series; our first season (in many years) to be presenting all four of our shows at one venue--the beautiful El Cerrito High Performing Arts Theater; and our first YMTC+ production, featuring local professionals, YMTC alumni and staff, and directed by award winning director Susannah Martin.
I believe that, in these tumultuous and uncertain times, the arts, and arts education are more relevant than ever. The demand for our programs from talented and committed students continues to grow, as do our deeply appreciative audiences. Our audiences--comprised of young and old, students and teachers, artists and arts appreciators--continue to come, year after year, show after show. I believe they come to be entertained, of course, but I also believe they come because they see and feel the energy of the young artists on our stages as a balm for the soul, as a beacon of light that tells us anything is possible, and that when we're in community, we are stronger than we are alone.
Thank you all for being a part of this community, for believing in our mission, and for supporting our growth on this exciting journey. Because of you, we have come far. And, with you at our sides, and at our backs, we will continue to move out and touch new communities--communities of of parents that don't know we exist yet, of students that need us, and of audiences that would thrive if they could sit in our seats and bear witness to the same magic we all know about already. We are committed to making our programs accessible, to broadening our scope, and to expanding our community to include more and more people so that YMTC, more and more, reflects the Bay Area that we call home.
Founding Artistic Director