Although Valley Youth Theatre had to cancel the last two shows of its 31st season, upcoming performing arts camps and classes for the spring, which impacted revenue, the award-winning children’s theatre company has launched a “Invest in VYT” campaign.
The campaign entails awarding a ticket to each of the next six productions for every $100 invested in VYT during the COVID-19 crisis, according to a press release.
On March 13, VYT canceled the April 3-19 production of Dear Edwina, which was cast with talented, young Valley performers and rehearsals had already begun. Plus, spring camps and classes, which many children were “looking forward to attending,” was canceled, according to a press release.
On April 8, it was announced to postpone what was to be “their lavish, large-cast return of Peter Pan,” at The Herberger Theater Center, June 12-28, and the May 8 VYTee Golf Classic fundraiser, eliminating all earned revenue between March and August, the release said.
“Instead of simply holding out a hand to ask for money, we want to give back the gifts that we have to offer - those of young people working together to create stunning, entertaining and uplifting works of performing art.
So, for a limited time, we are offering one ticket to each of our next six productions for every $100 investment in the future of our theatre. In comparison, purchasing individual tickets to these six shows would typically cost almost twice that amount,” said Valley Youth Theatre’s Producing Artistic Director Bobb Cooper in a prepared statement.
Mr. Cooper and his team are virtually meeting with the VYTeens performance troupe, twice each week, to discuss the future of the theatre and the “profound moments experienced, each day. They also share the silver linings that exist in each of their lives, throughout this ordeal.”
Also, VYT’s Education Director Madolyn Whitmer is teaching private online acting lessons and Mr. Cooper is speaking with alumni about a reunion concert, once Phoenicians assemble again, the release noted.
“We are doing our best to strike a balance between what are the most sound decisions for the greater good and those that allow us to continue our mission of helping young people be the best they can be.
We know that young people need a safe place to be creative and explore or sharpen their talents, so we are determining ways to provide meaningful content that allows them to engage in innovative ways,” said VYT’s Managing Director Suzie Martin in a prepared statement.
As the team continues to remain positive and look to “a future that includes live theatre, they are finding new ways to fund future productions,” by securing funding for licenses, venue rental, sets, costumes, designers and guest artists to continue offering fee-free participation in shows and maintaining low ticket prices, ensuring the plays and musicals are accessible to a vast number of performers and audiences.
People can participate in the new “Invest in VYT” program by going to the theatre’s website: vyt.com. The next six VYT productions will be High School Musical, Spookly the Square Pumpkin, A Winnie-the-Pooh Christmas Tail, Sleeping Beauty, Junie B Jones the Musical and Peter Pan.
“The marquee of our downtown theatre currently reads, ‘We’re all in this together,’ which is one of the most inspiring songs from High School Musical, selected to be our next season opener, early last fall. At that time, we had no idea how deeply poignant and universally relevant that theme would become, this year,” Mr. Cooper added.