Tacoma Youth Theatre (TYT) will put on its spring production of Peter Pan on two separate weekends. The show is a prime example of the theater’s mission to educate youth in the impact, success and joy of live performance.
Artistic Director Maggie Knott chose to put on Peter Pan because of the accessibility and relatability for the younger actors.
“[W]e feel it is a perfect ‘first-time experience’ for young artists, while providing more experienced actors with some classic character roles,” Managing Director Scott Campbell said.
“Additionally, Peter Pan’s story is structured in a way that allows for excellent collaborative learning… Familiarity with the story helps younger children understand their roles in the production.”
Knott wrote her own version of the original story by J.M. Barrie. It features the classic three main groups—the Darling Family, the Lost Children and the Pirates—with some new characters as well.
Campbell said he was surprised in his experience working with TYT.
“Young actors have an amazing ability to mentor each other—and it has everything to do with experience, not age. Often times an experienced younger actor can help mentor a teenage actor with less experience,” he said.
TYT works with children ages 5-18 to help them learn about theater and experience the joy and impact of the live stage for themselves.
“[TYT] is dedicated to creating high-quality theatre entirely produced by young artists. The company strives to build community by emphasizing core values of self-esteem, empathy, responsibility, collaboration, creativity, and adaptability,” Campbell said.
Another unique aspect of TYT is its “Pay What You Can” tuition. Enrollment costs can be quite high for some students, but the opportunity to pay what they can afford, as well as fundraisers and “crowd-funding,” allows all students to participate. Through this, everyone has a chance to perform, and the company can maintain their emphasis on diversity. Diversity fuels all of their core values.
Campbell was very excited for Puget Sound students to see the show.
“We offer a new model of theatre—one exclusively geared toward providing young artists ages 5-18 with tools, understanding, and facilities specifically designed so that they can have complete ownership of what they are doing. [Puget Sound] students can see first-hand how a mission to create theatre with children has been incorporated into the design of our theatre.
“These young artists run the show entirely by themselves—costume changes, entrances, props, remembering lines and blocking. Kids can act—and it is interesting to see how well they do when they own the production for themselves.”
Peter Pan has performances on March 21, 22 and 23, at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 3 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets run $20 for audience members 19 and older and $5 for those under 18.
It will also be performed May 30, 31 and June 1, featuring a new cast.