At Young Actors Theatre, we adapt timeless stories with contemporary tools to tell them in new, innovating ways. Our methods of storytelling change, but the underlying messages do not. Courage, wisdom, overcoming impossible odds, strength, wisdom, foresight, all of those attributes are things we can learn from examining a story written for a totally different society in a time that seems completely alien to us now.

I believe that the greatest parts of being a human being are eternal things that have always existed. We are still telling stories around a fire, but the fire has changed. It’s a chat room, a website, a blog. And how we tell stories will continue to evolve. I think an important thing to understand about YAT is that how we do our plays now is not how we will always do them. To stay innovative, you have to keep changing, and so we will.

Sometimes how we tell stories is uncomfortable or unexpected to people. I think it’s good to know that when you come to a YAT show, it’s not going to be the version of Beauty and the Beast that you may be familiar with. This is going to be a dissected, torn-apart version of that story with fragments left in it.

We’re interested in cutting-edge art, and to do that, we can’t tell the same story that, for example, Walt Disney has already told. In his time, Disney was a cutting-edge artist, but now, in order for YAT to be cutting-edge in our own time, we have to do something different. We’re setting out to take these stories and flip them around and tell them in a new way. This is something that’s high level art, and the students who comes to us are the ones who seek out that kind of experience.

These are students who are challenging themselves by experiencing art and culture in any way they can. They’re the ones in the contemporary section of the IMA, the ones with insane Tumblr pages, the ones who are reading books about art and philosophy and so on. They need a place that challenges them and brings about the new artists in the world. By giving them the tools - the familiar story, the theatrical style, we open them up to new possibilities and let them create an experience that is wholly theirs - not Disney’s or anyone else’s.

- Justin Wade, Executive Director of YAT