Theatre for Young America (TYA) is a 501C3 non-profit children’s theatre fostering the educational and emotional growth of young people through arts-based experiences.
TYA holds these values as central to our mission:
- Beginning a child’s lifelong relationship with theatre;
- Accessibility & inclusiveness to all populations;
- Development of curriculum based productions, outreach programs & workshops;
- Enrichment of the spirit, body, and mind in every individual
Theatre for Young America (TYA) began in 1974 at the Waldo Astoria Dinner layhouse. In 1977, the troupe became an independent organization and moved to Overland Park, Kansas, where it performed for 17 years in a converted cinema theatre. During this time the organization grew from 4 productions to 7 or 8 per season, added drama classes, summer workshops and summer productions, and outreach workshops in schools. TYA operated in the Mission Center Mall from 1994 to 2003.
Today TYA performs in the City Stage at Union Station, the Wonderscope Children’s Museum and Avila University. Since our beginning in 1974 we have worked to create each child’s lifelong relationship with theatre. Our ultimate goal, then and now, is to encourage the educational and emotional growth of young people through our arts-based experiences.
To reach this goal TYA has produced over 200 productions, including dozens of new and commissioned plays, plus many of the most acclaimed plays for young audiences by established playwrights. TYA has developed dozens of new plays and musical plays based on classic children’s literature, historical figures and current social issues, such as child sexual abuse, child care, and conflict resolution.
TYA contracts with Actors’ Equity Association, the national guild for professional actors, and is an active participant in the American Alliance of Theatre and Education, International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People (ASSITEJ/USA), the Arts Partners program of Young Audiences, the Arts Council of Metropolitan Kansas City, and the Arts Council of Johnson County.
TYA, the oldest children’s theatre in Kansas City, was the first to introduce a full-time Director of Education. This enables TYA to offer a wide range of educational components: after school enrichment classes in drama, summer drama workshops, outreach lesson plans taught in area schools and youth centers, and study guides to augment every production.
Some theatres offer after show discussions with the cast as an occasional special event. At TYA we offer these discussions after almost every show. We recognize the value of making the most out of this opportunity to build our relationship with the children in our audience.