About Us

Theatre de Jeunesse is a 501(c)(3) non-profit theatre arts organization offering free arts education and performance opportunities for Mid-Ohio Valley high school and early college aged young adults. The organization is incorporated and licensed in West Virginia, and is governed by a five member Executive Board. The program is operated by the Executive Board and a small production staff of committed and experienced artists and teachers. The staff shares a love of theatre and has consistently demonstrated the talent and temperament required to work with creative young people while maintaining excellence in educational and performance standards.

From 1997 to 2008, members of the Theatre de Jeunesse staff administered the popular and successful Guild Builders annual comprehensive youth theatre arts program for fourth through ninth grade students at the local Actors Guild of Parkersburg community theater in Parkersburg, West Virginia. The staff has consistently demonstrated the required experience and expertise to administer a successful youth theatre arts program.

The Theatre de Jeunesse staff believes the arts – music or theatre or the visual arts – help students experience and perceive our world in a way that is often new and different and sometimes challenging. The arts can open their eyes, ears, and hearts to see things in a way they have never seen them before; what they hear touches them more deeply; there is a new insight or a better understanding of things they have taken for granted.

Theatre de Jeunesse will help students discover their gifts and talents, their skills and abilities; help them to develop those gifts and abilities; and help them to use and share them not only for their benefit but also for the good of others. There is much more to theatre than acting. The creative thinking, problem solving, planning, writing, and speaking skills the students develop in the theatre arts are valuable resources to draw upon in many school, extracurricular, and community activities, as well as any future theatrical pursuits. Students can share these skills to enhance theatre arts activities in their schools, churches, communities, local theaters and performing centers. Theatre de Jeunesse will provide the students with a solid background and hands-on experience in all aspects of theatre.

In an article "Living the Arts Through Language and Learning: A Report on Community Based Youth Organizations" appearing in Americans for the Arts Monographs, 2(7), 1-20, it was reported that young people who participate in the arts for three hours weekly are: 4 times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement; 3 times more likely to be elected to class office within their schools; 4 times more likely to participate in a math and science fair; 3 times more likely to win an award for school attendance; and 4 times more likely to win an award for writing an essay or poem.

Arts education and training can be expensive and is traditionally available primarily to middle and upper income youth. Theatre de Jeunesse’s free program will address the underserved situation of many low-income youth by offering young people an opportunity to explore dreams and talents that might not otherwise be financially feasible.

Each student's personal growth and development will also be enhanced, as participation in the performing arts nurtures many aspects of youth development including teamwork & social skills. Students build the life skills of self-esteem and self-confidence, time management & communication, self-discipline, commitment, a strong work ethic, and an increased tolerance & respect for others. The students will learn to work closely with many different types of individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds and cultures. These skills will be extremely important to young people in today’s highly competitive and success-oriented society.

There exists a perception that youth theatre is only suitable for a young audience, and a belief that high school productions must be limited in size, complexity, and scope because of the limited capabilities of young people. Due to their years of experience working with youth, the Theatre de Jeunesse staff is confident that young people can achieve any challenge that they fully accept, and applies the same high standards that patrons expect in adult theatre productions.

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