1. What is your organization or company. Give background history including who, when, and why it was founded.
I have chosen to do my project on a local theatre organization from my hometown called Yellow Springs Kids Playhouse or, better known, as YSKP. YSKP was founded in 1995 and gained its status as a non-profit in 1999. The organization began as a summer theatre experience for youth in the village. Since 1997 they have annually commissioned original musicals from regional and nationally known playwrights including Tony Dallas and Louise Smith. By 1999 a workshop program was also started to work with kids under the age of ten and prepare them for future work with the organization. By 2o02 there were so many youth interested that they expanded their seasons with a second summer show and added an outreach tour to the Dayton area and other regions. Over the years YSKP has brought in artists in residence in the fields of media, music, and visual arts. In 2004, they incorporated a youth leadership program called DaBigs that organized older youth to mentor younger youth. Since opening they have also changed their artistic goals to include theatre that addresses issues of identity, conflict resolution, and reconciliation for youth. Since its beginnings, over 1200 youth have participated in original productions and some alumnus have gone on to become professionals in the performing arts.
2. What do they do or make – describe the products and services and what makes them unique.
YSKP provides quality theatre training for local youth. Although this may seem simple and straightforward, what makes them unique is that they fill a niche in the Miami Valley and Dayton area theatre spectrum, focusing on original works that are threaded with contemporary social, cultural, historical, or geopolitical issues and modern media technologies. They also use resident artists from a variety of disciplines that provides a multitude of arts role models.
3. Describe the culture of the organization or company. What is the work environment like – the atmosphere? What is the building like – exterior/interior, architecture, fittings and furniture? How do the employees work together? What are the jobs and roles of individuals? How are they treated by management?
The staff is comprised of four people: John Fleming – Artistic Director, Kim Kremer – Bookkeeper, Jill Becker – Education Coordinator, and Ara Beal – Artistic Associate. There is also a Board of Directors that consists of five individuals and an Advisory Board that consists of three. All of those involved with the organization have very involved roles in the organization. For example, John Fleming is the Artistic Director and has worn many hats with YSKP including director and playwright. All of these individuals also have a strong relationship with the community as well, being long time residents or involved in other ways. It’s a very cohesive and team oriented environment that works to create the best experience possible for the youth involved.
While rehearsals take place in a small building on Antioch College campus, the shows are primarily performed in a local amphitheater belonging to Antioch College. This amphitheater is a wonderful space in which the plain, cinderblock backdrop serves as an artists canvas for each show. It is painted with the theme of the show which provides local artists to showcase their work and also is part of the visual art (street art) culture in Yellow Springs. Here is an example:
4. Who is the targeted audience? What are their demographics?
The targeted audience is children K-12.
5. What is the organization or company mission statement?
“The mission of the YS Kids Playhouse is to cultivate the development of future actors, leaders, patrons and audiences and to enhance art awareness in our community through arts education programming and the creation of original multimedia theater for youth.”