Youth Theatre Northwest has been introducing local children to the joy of acting since the theatre first opened on Mercer Island in 1984. Located on the north end of the island on a campus shared with the CHILD center and Mary Wayte Pool, the theatre produces plays and offers classes throughout the year.
During the school year Youth Theatre Northwest stages a variety of plays featuring young actors. This past season they staged productions of 101 Dalmatians, Madeline’s Christmas, Dracula, James and the Giant Peach, Bye Bye Birdie, It’s a Whatchamadoozie with a Whadayacallit (with a Thingmajigit on top!) and Pinocchio. For their upcoming summer season they will be producing Big Bad Wolf (and how he got that way), Beauty and the Beast, and Thoroughly Modern Millie. Each play has multiple evening and weekend performances, with special weekday matinee shows for school field trip groups during the school year.
In addition to producing plays, the theatre offers classes for children ages 3 and up. For preschoolers, classes focus on developing imagination, exploring the five senses and bringing storybook characters to life. After school classes for elementary school children include dancing, singing and audition preparation. There are also imagination building classes in which students create and act out stories about superheroes or knights, dragons and princesses. Middle school and high school students can take classes in playwriting, directing, choreography and set design. The theatre also offers special day time classes that can be tailored to the needs of home school groups.
The end of the school year brings a variety of summer camp activities to Youth Theatre Northwest. For the youngest children, the offerings give preschoolers a chance to become alphabet detectives and hunt down missing letters in Alphabet City, or form a number squad to solve a mystery for the king of Additionland, or travel around the world in seven days while creating craft projects inspired by different cultures. Elementary students can spend their summers taking weeklong classes focused on bringing a specific storybook, Broadway play or musical to life, with a special performance of the play at the end of each week. This age group can also enroll in a summer camp in which children bring the world of mermaids and pirates to life while taking daily trips to Mary Wayte Pool. Pre-teens and teens can enroll in summer camps focusing on musical theatre, sketch comedy and Shakespeare.
For more than a quarter century, Youth Theatre Northwest has been helping local children build self-confidence while uncovering hidden talents and developing a love for the theatre. The important role the theatre has played in countless children’s lives has made it one of Mercer Island’s most beloved organizations.