Merrimack Repertory Theatre Blog

MRT Partners with Lowell Boys & Girls Club and National Park Service on Young Artists at Play
April 11, 2012, 3:57 pm
Filed under: Merrimack Repertory Theatre | Tags: ,



Lowell, MAMerrimack Repertory Theatre is proud to announce the program schedule for the 15th season of Young Artists At Play(YAAP), a successful summer theatre program providing fun and rewarding theatrical experiences for students entering grades 1-12. This summer, YAAP will offer 7 theatre workshops, including Musical Theatre, Improvisational Theatre, and The Young Company, a 3-week program for high school students culminating in a fully-staged production. All programs are led by theatre professionals with strong educational backgrounds, and are designed to be enjoyable, exciting and memorable. Each class will culminate with a performance by students for their parents and other invited guests, giving students the chance to showcase their new skills. Tuition ranges from $350-$950, and registration is limited to 20 students per class. Scholarships are available thru the YAAP Scholarship Fund, and are awarded based on financial need, a demonstrable intent to participate and artistic potential. For additional enrollment information, please call Michael LaChance, YAAP Registration Coordinator at 978-654-7550.

This summer, MRT’s mainstage stage, which has traditionally served as the location for several YAAP classes, will be unavailable due to the renovation of Liberty Hall. The solution to this problem will actually make the program stronger. MRT is teaming with The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Lowell and the Lowell National Historical Park, who have generously agreed to provide the space needed. While the majority of classes will be held in their usual location, MRT’s Donahue Center, the remainder will be held at The Boys & Girls Club at 657 Middlesex St in Lowell, and the final performances for these programs will be hosted at the Park’s Boott Cotton Mills Event Center. Members of The Boys & Girls Club will have the opportunity to receive scholarships to YAAP programs, allowing more students to participate in the program and making this a true partnership.

“The Boys & Girls Club is thrilled to partner with such a highly respected theater,” said Boys & Girls Club Executive Director Joe Hungler. “It will provide our members with the opportunity for creative expression as well as exposure to high quality performing arts programs happening right here in Lowell.”

Peter Aucella, Acting Superintendent of LNHP added, “Lowell National Historical Park is excited to host the YAAP final performances at Boott Cotton Mills Museum Event Center. As fellow Lowell organizations that work to tell the stories of our local community through youth theater programming, we look forward to the partnership this year and in the future.”

About YAAP:  Begun in 1998, the mission of YAAP is to utilize theatre to teach and reinforce the life skills of teamwork, problem solving, creativity, analysis, and critical thinking while promoting an understanding and appreciation of the theatrical art form. Age-appropriate programs are designed to spark the child’s imagination, encourage their social and listening skills, and build self-confidence. Theatre professionals and guest artists teach the collaborative process of theatre that requires these diverse and important skills. Children broaden their knowledge of theatre through a number of assignments, including reading and analyzing scripts (including content and character development), and working with fellow actors, directors, and designers to produce a cohesive final project. Throughout each session, there is also an emphasis on making the experience fun for the students. A final presentation for invited guests culminates each workshop.

YAAP Scholarship Fund:  The progressive rise in tuition cost over the years led to the development of the YAAP Scholarship Fund for children from low- to moderate-income families in the Greater Boston, Southern New Hampshire and Merrimack Valley area. The YAAP Scholarship Fund encourages families who would otherwise be unable to afford to participate to enroll their children in these workshops. Scholarship award criteria include financial need, a demonstrable intent to participate and artistic potential.  Individuals or businesses may donate to the scholarship fund by contacting Jeff Prescott at 978-654-7552.


One Week Theatre Camp

Students Entering Grade 1-3
July 23- July 27 9:00am – 3:00pm

It’s theatre camp – so let’s have fun! Children are never too young to discover the magic of theatre! We’ll play games together, act out stories, sing, dance, and do theatre arts and crafts. We will create our very own short play, based on a story or a completely original idea, and perform it for family and friends on Friday!

Two-Week Performance Seminar

Students Entering Grades 4-5
July 9 – July 20, 9:00am – 3:00pm

We do it all in two weeks! The YAAP staff has designed a really fun program where participants will help create an original play, either based on a known play of their own idea, rehearse it and then perform on July 20th, for family and friends! Activities include singing, movement and dance, acting, rehearsal, play creation and art and crafts in order to make sets and costumes! Sign up and join the fun!

Improvisational Theatre Week

Students Entering Grades 6-12

July 16 – July 20, 9:00am – 4:00pm

A special workshop bringing together different age groups to learn from each other and the YAAP staff! Improvisational theatre is challenging – there are no scripts! But it is also fun because there are no scripts. It is a theatre world of surprises and discovery that pushes actors to be creative, think on their feet and work as a team. This week will be dedicated to learning the art of improvisational theatre. On Friday, July 20, we will present our very own, original IMPROV SHOW!

Two-Week Performance Seminar

Students Entering Grades 6-8

August 6 – August 17, 9:00am – 4:00pm

The play’s the thing! During this 2-week performance program, participants will create an original play with the help of the YAAP staff. This play will be designed to emphasize ensemble work and the strengths of each participant. Creative movement, dance, singing, acting and improve, set and costume creation, and group work will all be a part of the experience. On Friday August 17th, we will perform our original play for family and friends.

Musical Theatre Week

Students Entering Grades 6-8

July 30 – August 3, 9:00am – 4:00pm

This week-long seminar, led by our professional musical director and choreographer, will focus on the skills needed to perform musical theatre. Students will work on warm-ups, cool-downs, audition technique and group musical numbers – singing and dancing. Students will rehearse these musical pieces along with short scenes created by the instructors and students. At the end of the week, participants will perform their musical theatre extravaganza!

Musical Theatre Week

Students Entering Grades 9-12

July 9 – July 13, 9:00am – 4:00pm

Want to be a triple threat? Singer, Dancer, Actor! Bring your singing voice and dancing shoes and join us for a week of Musical Theatre. Students will work on solo and group numbers, led by our professional music director and choreographer. Then you will get a chance to show off your skills for family and friends on Friday, July 13 during our Musical Theatre Spectacular. No prior experience required, just a desire to learn and have fun!

The Young Company

Students Entering Grades 9-12

July 23 – August 10, 9:00am – 5:00pm

YOCO is an intensive experience of every aspect of the process of performance. Each day includes training in techniques of acting and improvisation, movement and voice. Exercises build individual mastery of each performer’s instrument, while creating a strong ensemble. All actors are encouraged to not only explore their existing strengths, but to stretch into unfamiliar territory. The first two Fridays the actors will perform for family and friends in their own cabaret, an informal presentation where everyone can show off their talents of try out new skills developed during the week. The ensemble creates a safe space to grow and experiment, and together the group will create its own performance piece, under the guidance of the professional YAAP staff. Not only do our actors create amazing pieces of theatre, they build lasting relationships and have an unforgettably fun time together! The whole experience culminates on Friday, August 10 with YOCO’s original, never-seen-before play performed for the public!

Merrimack Repertory Theatre’s 2011-2012 Season is sponsored by Lowell Bank. MRT is funded in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

For more information on YAAP, the YAAP Scholarship Fund, or for an application, please call Michael LaChance, YAAP Registration Coordinator, at 978-654-7550 or visit

For MRT show times, tickets, season information, directions, or to request a brochure, please visit MerrimackRep.orgor call the Box Office at 978-654-4MRT (4678).



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