Young Stars Theatre

 

 

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Current  Productions!!

 


Opening August 19th!!

 

FREMONT CENTRE THEATRE, SOUTH PASADENA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TICKETS ON SALE NOW!!

ABOUT US:

Young Stars Theatre is a free, non-profit community theatre project primarily for actors ages 8-18. YST is designed to give these younger actors an opportunity to perform roles they might not otherwise have access to, and to allow them to learn their craft in a supportive environment while performing for live audiences.

 

We are supported by ticket sales, ad sales, concessions, grants and donations.

 

 

 

Check out J.K. Simmons great acceptance speech at the 2015 SAG Awards! 

Couldn't have said it better ourselves!

 

 

A Brief History of YST

Young Stars Theatre was originally formed in Jacksonville Beach, FL in 2000. The program founders, Jack and Gloria Bennett, were doing a yearly summer musical theatre and drama camp with 40-50 youth (18 and under) every summer.

           

Gloria was a voice teacher and private studio owner with a full roster of her own private voice students and several teachers working for her, and Jack was a professional actor who, with Gloria, taught acting classes to youth. It hit them after a few years of doing the summer camps that there was very little opportunity for these youth to participate in theatre the rest of the year.

 

Eventually the idea came to them to create a community theatre just for youth actors, and Young Stars Theatre was born.  They literally carved out a performance space in Gloria’s private studio.  That first theatre had a stage 13.5 feet wide by 8 feet deep, and could seat up to 42 audience members.  They did regular shows there, a new show about every 2 months, 2 to 3 weekends of performances for each show, and raised a dedicated following of audience members who were consistently impressed with the high level of the youth productions.

 

After a little over 2 years of this, the building where the theatre was located was sold, and the new owners wanted to raise the lease by nearly 30%, which made it prohibitive to stay at that location. The studio moved to a smaller space, and YST was in limbo.

 

In 2004, Jack and Gloria moved to Los Angeles.  Their daughter, Miranda, who had been active in the theatre in Florida (including professional Equity theatre) wanted to get into theatre in California. They were somewhat shocked to learn that although there was an abundance of children’s theatre, every theatre charged fees in some way to the participants, some as high as $800. While they understood the reality that theatre costs money to produce, they also realized that these fees would likely exclude many youth from ever participating.  So in 2007, Young Stars Theatre made its Southern California debut with a production of The Sherlock Society, an original play by George Demme (Gloria’s father) at The Actor’s Workout Studio in North Hollywood.

 

The idea of free theatre for youth actors seemed to strike a real chord.  Soon, YST was looking for a theatre to call their own.  At the beginning of 2008, Gloria found a retail space on Sherman Way. Where other people saw a big empty room with little but a front door, a toilet and a sink, Gloria saw a theatre. With the help of donated labor from a contractor, Bill Lippold, donated pews and other building materials found on Craigslist, and a few thousand dollars in new materials, they were up and running with their first show in February of 2008.

 

Young Stars Theatre produced 11 shows in 2008 in their new space, nearly one a month, most with at least two and sometimes three completely different casts. Jack was working a full-time day job, and spending nearly every night at the theatre, either rehearsing, teaching, or building, and Gloria maintained a full roster of private voice students while also spending nearly every night at the theatre.

 

This schedule proved exhausting, and both Jack and Gloria ended up in the hospital at different times at the end of the year.  These health issues, along with the slipping economy, forced Jack and Gloria to scale back to just 10 shows for 2009, and also to make the difficult decision to charge nominal fees while offering scholarships to anyone who asked.

 

Even this measure could not hold off the reality of the economic downturn, and by their final show of 2009, they knew they could no longer afford to keep the doors open.  YST returned to being a no-pay-to-play theatre for their final show there, A Christmas Carol, and shut the doors for the last time on December 15, 2009.  The ray of sunshine came at almost the same time. They received their final letter of determination from the IRS that YST was a full 501(c)3 non-profit corporation.

 

Now, YST is going forward, raising funding and continuing production, with an immediate goal of getting back into their own theatre, and a long-term goal of building a major multimillion dollar arts complex, with three live theatres that would also double as film theatres, classrooms for instruction in all areas of the arts, an editing suite for film students, and much, much more.

 

UPDATE:  As of January 1st, 2016, YST will be back in their own home theatre!!  The Fremont Centre Theatre, 1000 Fremont Ave, S. Pasadena will be our new home.  This beautiful 75 seat theatre is the perfect place for YST to grow and thrive!

 

 

Young Stars Theatre Membership Company  (click here for more info!)

 

Young Stars Theatre Company Membership is granted by fulfilling the requirements at the link above. The benefits and responsibilities of being a member are outlined there. A quick tease...members are invited to regular workshops by an industry professionals. Some guests that have already appeared or agreed to appear are professionals in the following fields- Talent agency owner, Children's talent agent, Talent manager (works for talent in LA and New York), Photographer, and a professional Voice Over Artist.

 

 

 

If you would like to help us financially with a donation, please click here.

 

 

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