- Vermont Stage's 2017 production of Fun Home
Starting this fall, dramatically inclined young people will have a new place to hone their craft when professional theater company Vermont Stage launches a program geared to tweens and teens. Vermont Stage Youth Company at Main Street Landing will offer 12-week sessions in the fall and spring, as well as a summer 2020 program, focused on voice, movement and acting. The goal, said director of education Amy Riley, is "giving kids a toolbox of performing that's not just music-based." An emergent company for 11- to 14-year-olds will culminate in an All-Company Showcase each semester, while a senior company for ages 15 to 19 will present a showcase in addition to fall, spring and summer productions. The groups will meet separately, but have lunch together every Saturday to learn from each other. Older teens can also choose a technical theater track, which will provide mentorship and hands-on learning in set design, lighting, sound, wardrobe and stage management. An Arts Alliance group for ages 15 to 19 will attend shows together, learn from professional actors and directors, and have input on programming. Riley, who performed improv comedy with the Second City Conservatory and Upright Citizens Brigade, spent six years as a teaching artist and producing artistic director for Flynn Youth Theater Company. Locally, "there are a lot of opportunities for kids in musical theater," she said, but "we really wanted to create a program that is a holistic approach to performing arts."