There are young people everywhere who feel like the world is falling apart. Because of their access to the rest of the world through the Internet, too often they see a dark picture of humanity in chaos. They know about every act of terrorism, every mass shooting, every word of prejudice in a way that our generation did not at their age. However, there’s another side to the world that sometimes isn’t as easy to see. We’re living in a time that’s filled with the most exciting innovations in the history of mankind. The same technology that makes it easier for a teenager to know what hardships others are facing across the globe also makes it easier for them to learn about the incredible advances being made.

I look at all of this and think, “What is the difference between seeing the optimistic and seeing the pessimistic?” And it comes down to being a self-empowered individual. It comes down to acknowledging the difficult and making a conscious decision to turn that situation into something positive.

Self-empowerment is a tool that gives students the confidence that they can have an organized, focused mind that can filter through all the information that’s being thrown at them constantly.

The power of theatre is that it can provide a place for students to think deeply about different points of view, to see a problem from all sides, and to enact the solution. When people come to YAT shows, when students participate in it, and especially when students see other students participating, they see self-empowerment happening onstage. It’s the same feeling you get from watching that one scene in your favorite movie. That invincible, ecstatic feeling that something good is coming right around the corner and you know how to make it happen. That feeling that makes you watch a movie seventy times? That’s the feeling we give our students, along with the tools to carry it into their everyday life.


- Justin Wade, Executive Director of YAT