The STAGES Youth Theater Mission:
To unlock self-discovery in young people through the transformative power of theater.
The STAGES Youth Theater Core Values:
To recognize and celebrate the inherent uniquness within each person
To nurture artists and creativity in all forms
To treat everyone with respect & kindness and be open to new experiences
To practice innovation and risk-taking
Our mission and core values guide every decision made at STAGES, every day. At STAGES Youth Theater, we believe creativity is inherent in children of all ages and that participation in the performing arts unlocks the imagination, builds self-esteem, and provides a meaningful opportunity for young people to learn about themselves and the world around them.
We are proud and grateful to continue this work during the COVID-19 pandemic – finding new ways to connect with kids, and new tools that can be used in self-discovery in these surreal times. While we look forward to the end of this global health crisis, we also acknowledge gratitude for the time afforded to STAGES by the slowing down of our year-round programs.
This time for reflection has been a gift. Taking an overdue and critical look at the work we do – and measuring it against the integrity and promise of our mission – has been enlightening and humbling. As we prepare to enter our 15th year, STAGES has begun the work toward creating a more sustainable, more authentic and more equitable programming model. The process will be ongoing. It may be messy at times. Your feedback is always welcome, as we continue to dream about what STAGES can be in the post-COVID years ahead.
STAGES began in April 2007 as STAGES: The Performing Arts Academy for Kids in Scarborough, Maine to provide “movement, music and theater instruction” to kids ages preschool through highschool. In 2010, STAGES joined Mad Horse Theatre Company in their new South Portland venue, and expanded to become a theater production company producing a full season of large-scale, all-student productions each year. In 2016, the business was re-established as the new non-profit organization, STAGES Youth Theater, and after a decade of renting spaces from other great theater companies, moved the entire operation – including administrative offices, rehearsals, and all mainstage performances – to a 6000-square-foot facility on the campus of the Woodfords Congregational Church in Portland. With all programs under the same roof for the first time, work began to build and ensure that STAGES will remain a premiere youth theater institution for years to come. Click here for a list of past productions.
In recent years, STAGES Youth Theater…
- has produced a full season of fully-staged, all-student productions (including as many as 7 large-scale Broadway Musicals and a Shakespeare play), and three professionally produced Theater for Young Audiences performance experiences (featuring adult casts performing for young children) each year.
- developed new original, innovative dramatic work – specifically for young people through – our Theater for Young Audiences program.
- has designed and delivered after-school after-school theater enrichment classes to students in our theater, and in other schools/satellite locations in the Portland area.
- partnered with school teachers to bring customized, one-of-a-kind educational theater residencies and workshops into public and independent school classrooms.
- provided part-time employment to 30-40 Maine theater artists, educators and administrators each season.
- shared equipment, costumes, props, rehearsal/meeting spaces and team member support to other area theater companies.
- supported schools and organizations by participating in career fairs, sample theater classes, arts celebrations, panel discussions and other community events
- innovated non-competitive educational theater models and best practices designed to meet each student where they’re at!
“Being able to think outside of the box and put yourself out there, especially as a child, teaches you how to be a confident, well-rounded person. I know I don’t know where I would be without youth theater.”
“Inclusion, confidence, empathy, support. STAGES teaches life long lessons that go far beyond any stage. There is NO youth theater experience like it.”