The MCC Theater Youth Company is a free, after-school program for New York City high school students interested in developing their acting and dramatic writing skills. Within a creative, challenging, and supportive environment, teenagers from five boroughs participate in weekly workshops (Labs) led by professional theater artists. Our students are encouraged to discover and explore their unique artistic voices as they work together to create and perform original work. Authenticity, originality, energy, honesty, enthusiasm... all of their experiences are essential to the process. Through collaboration, YC members form a supportive ensemble of young artists in an inspiring environment where they are free to experiment, make bold choices, and take risks.
The Youth Company is split into three distinct groups: the Acting Lab, the Playwriting Lab, and the Ambassadors. Acting Lab students meet every week with professional actor/director Jen Shirley to develop skills in voice, movement, monologue and dialogue. The year culminates with the annual spring production of UnCensored. Playwriting Lab students meet every week with professional playwright Lucy Thurber to develop skills in dramatic writing. In the spring, students write individual short plays, the best of which are produced by professional actors and directors in July/August during The FreshPlay Festival. The Ambasssadors meet weekly with Director of Education, Carrie Azano, to learn about how a theater runs through conversations with MCC Staff members, other theater companies, and artists involved with mainstage productions. Ambassadors assist as producers for UnCensored and On the Fly.
Veteran Youth Company members also have the opportunity to work with distinguished professionals in master classes, in which the highest tier of theater experts impart their wisdom, experience, and skills upon our YC members. Past master class leaders have included resident playwright Neil LaBute (Reasons to Be Happy, reasons to be pretty), actor Kristen Johnston (Scarcity, Third Rock From the Sun), actor Barrett Foa (Avenue Q, Drunken City), writer/actor Hunter Bell (Title of Show), and director Jeremy Dobrish (Spain).