By Melanie Baker

Rockland Youth Theatre Brings Creative Opportunities

  |  Local News - Rockland County  

Rockland Youth Theatre encourages kids to create, team-build, and be inspired through theater they create from the ground up.

Middle school students Nia, 11, Sarah, 12, and Amalia, 12, perform on stage during a Rockland Youth Theatre class.

Wendy Gross Baker wants to empower kids. At her new venture, Rockland Youth Theatre, kids are encouraged to create, team-build, and be inspired through theater they create from the ground up. “In my experience working with youth,” she says, “where kids really feel empowered is when they have a piece in the process.”

After thinking about and developing the program for a few years, Baker, founder and director, recently opened Rockland Youth Theatre with her first class, a sixteen-week course open to middle school students who want to get hands-on experience, build important life skills, and expand their knowledge of theater arts. Focus lies on the entire process and experience of theater-making as a group, Baker says, as opposed to focusing on just the end product.

Rockland Youth Theatre also spreads theater education through their Artist-in-Residence program, designed to place more creative artists in academic environments to propel students’ passion for the arts. Baker hopes to continue to put her program in place at more schools, and hopes to find more teaching artists to expand the outreach and impact of Rockland Youth Theatre.

Baker says that the participants of Rockland Youth Theatre walk away with more than just a fun experience and performance chops. The program also teaches “confidence, team building, creative freedom, and the skill of working collaboratively to create something new. That’s a life skill,” Baker says. Rockland Youth Theatre is all about “learning about yourself.”



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