1976 - 2005

Young Actors Theatre was founded in 1976 by Charlotte Kaufman, an actress from NYC, who made her home in the midwest. At first, we were part of the Athenaeum Turners School of Performing Arts, based at the historic Athenaeum building in downtown Indianapolis. The initial purpose of YAT was to teach basic acting classes that culminated in performances for Kindergarten through twelfth graders. From 1976 to 2005, YAT presented three productions a year, six performances, was run by two part-time staff members, and served sixty students (two of whom were Justin and Catherine)!


2005 - NOW

Justin and Catherine couldn't stay young actors forever. They grew up, went to school, came back, and stayed involved with YAT. After assisting original founder Charlotte Kaufman for five years, Justin assumed the role of Executive Artistic Director in 2005, and Catherine Wade was hired as Managing Director in 2006. Since the brother-sister team took over, Young Actors Theatre has transformed into the largest youth theatre in Indianapolis. How? Because they believe in innovation, hard work, and transforming the lives of young people. They continue to create Model Citizens in the Capital City of Indianapolis.



Since 2005, the total number of students participating in our programs has increased yearly at an average of 43%, while our annual revenue has also risen considerably at an average of 32%.  We serve approximately 37,000 individuals, present a minimum of 20 productions and 65 performances, and staff four full-time staff members, two part-time staff members, five contracted employees, and 150 volunteers.  We work directly with youth approximately 350 days a year, and on average 75 hours a week.