"Every year we try and make people think, and we want them
to understand that we are not just those kids that go about life
doing this and that, but we actually have a voice." -YT Member

"These kids are so talented. They're just as good as the kids from the elite
performing arts schools - as a matter of fact, they are more authentic."
-Audience Member

"I come to CAT to create theatre and have my voice heard. Since they won't listen
to a teenager off-stage, people have no choice but to listen to me on-stage."
-YT Member

"It's fun education... education isn't fun in school, but here, it's really fun to learn. I never thought I'd say those two in the same sentence." -YT Member

"We've not only proven that we can make the audience think,
but that we can do more than you think we can." -YT Member

"I was so glad that I brought my kids. We all three were fully engaged and had
interesting conversations about it through the rest of the day." -Audience Member

CAT Youth Theatre

CAT Youth Theatre News

It's that time of year- our annual fundraiser- and we need your support to keep the CAT Youth Theatre FREE for all participants for the next year. As we look forward to next year's programming, we know the work is need more than ever and need your help. 

Make a donation today- Click here to donate!

About the CAT Youth Theatre

CAT Youth Theatre is a free, award-winning after school program that invests in young people and inspires them to thrive– on stage and in life. While we are working remotely right now, we are still always accepting applications for new members. If you are interested in joining, click the "Apply Now" tab for more information.

The collaborative theatre process gives young people the opportunity to make new meanings from the material of their lives. Each year approximately 70 middle school, high school, and early college-aged young people from across the city create socially relevant, artistically sophisticated original plays while learning vital life skills enabling them to become self-confident, compassionate and accountable; develop relationships across differences; build community; and be prepared to act as contributing citizens.

Membership is free to the young people who participate. There are no auditions required – just a commitment to be an active participant of the CAT Youth Theatre community.

Each spring, the CAT Youth Theatre company (young people in high school) presents a full production of an original work in a professional venue. Three times a year, the Junior Youth Theatre company (young people in middle school) present original work at the CAT studio. Each group meets weekly throughout the year.

Since its founding in 1995, CAT Youth Theatre has:

  • Presented over 100 original shows devised or written by the company, and performed at a wide array of conferences, festivals and events
  • Held 12-hour, non-stop, sponsored improvisation marathons
  • Performed, by invitation, in Chicago, London, Liverpool, and at the U.N.
  • Collaborated with young people from the Czech Republic, Taiwan, Germany, England, Poland, India, Zambia, Palestine, Turkey, Brazil and Nepal
  • Motivated over 80% of its members to graduate from high school and go on to college
  • Been selected as Broadway Artist Connection’s charity partner in 2014 and 2016
  • Seen alumni achieve careers in the arts, business, the military, and other pursuits. Several have returned after graduation to become professional CAT teaching artists

And Program Director Helen White was awarded the American Alliance for Theatre and Education’s Youth Theatre Director of the Year and New York 1’s New Yorker of the Week

For more information call the Youth Theatre at (212) 652-2828, email Maureen.Donohue@cuny.edu or CLICK HERE to apply!

Have you seen Program Director Helen White's New Yorker of the Week segment? Check it out here and get a glimpse of the Youth Theatre in action.


CAT Youth Theatre receives generous support from the New York City Council and is supported, in part, by public funds from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, and from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Follow CAT Youth Theatre on Facebook.

Click here to apply!

Also available:  Ask your school to work with CAT’s NYC Student Shakespeare FestivalMiddle School Program, or High School Program.

 

Happy 25th Anniversary, CAT Youth Theatre!

July 2020 marked the CAT YouthTheatre’s 25th Anniversary. What started as a 10-day summer intensive has become a year-round free program, with groups for both high school and middle school aged young people, to play together, inspire each other, build community, create original theatre from their own ideas & move towards the change they want to see in the world. Hundreds of young people have been CAT Youth Theatre members – we celebrate YOU!

Over the past year, we shared videos, photos, and Youth Theatre memories celebrating the 25th anniversary, leading up to a reunion on June 6th.

If you missed them, you can click here to catch up!

You can watch clips and scenes from COME ON INN, the show that started it all, here.

Stay tuned for more information- click here to make sure you’re on our email list, and let us know if you have ideas or suggestions for us to continue to connect our community.

Email us with questions!

25 for 25

The Youth Theatre could not have remained FREE for participants without your help.

THANK YOU to all of you who have contributed over the years.

Like many organizations throughout NYC and the country, the Creative Arts Team is continuing to feel the financial repercussions of Covid-19.

Can you help us now?

We are working diligently to continue working with young people across NYC, but we need your help to make that happen. Can you consider making a monthly donation to support the next year of work for the CAT YT? In these uncertain times, having some financial stability would be incredibly valuable.

Can you give $25 a month? Or $10? (Or more?!)

Click here to make a financial contribution of any size, or text GIVE to 914-266-3635. If you want to donate but not through Network for Good, please contact us.  


 

 

To provide young people with hands-on opportunities to create original theatre experiences from their own ideas that will stimulate:

  • Creativity
  • Self-esteem and resiliency
  • Broader horizons
  • A strong sense of community
  • Reflection on what it means to be a theatre-maker and an active, engaged citizen in society
  • Social awareness and activism through theatre.

 

Click here to apply!

Since its founding in 1995, CAT Youth Theatre has:

  • Presented over 95 original shows devised or written by the company, and performed at a wide array of conferences, festivals and events
  • Held 12-hour, non-stop, sponsored improvisation marathons
  • Performed, by invitation, in Chicago, London, Liverpool, and at the U.N.
  • Collaborated with young people from the Czech Republic, Taiwan, Germany, England, Poland, India, Zambia, Palestine, Turkey, Brazil and Nepal
  • Motivated over 80% of its members to graduate from high school and go on to college
  • Been selected as Broadway Artist Connection's charity partner in 2014 and 2016
  • Seen alumni achieve careers in the arts, business, the military, and other pursuits. Several have returned after graduation to become professional CAT teaching artists
  • And Program Director Helen White was awarded the American Alliance for Theatre and Education's Youth Theatre Director of the Year and New York 1's New Yorker of the Week 
     

“The issues we touched on are really important and not things we learn about in our common core education – so to get to express our ideas and show that as young people we can make a difference – audiences knew we really care about the issues that are affecting us as young people.”
- Youth Theatre Member

“Keep CAT open forever. Never found a real home until I came to CAT.”
- Youth Theatre Member

"CAT Youth Theatre is about learning and growing. Everyone listens and is open without judgement. I don't know who I would be without CAT." - Youth Theatre Alum

From Audience Members:

"I can say without hesitation that the CAT Youth Theatre produces some of the best theatre I have even seen. It is truly one of the very best theatre organizations going, as are their shows."

"These kids and this program can restore my hope for tomorrow."

"I was so blown away by the CAT Youth Theatre. I can't stop thinking about the show and how much depth there was. How brilliant and talented the young people are and how moving it was to see them speak their mind, and from the heart. So profound. So honest. So brave! I was so inspired."

"Every year I see CAT Youth Theater's show, & every year I laugh, cry, & experience a whole range of emotions that I haven't tapped into in a very long time. The students I bring are forever changed - aware & socially active & creatively driven - all from a single performance. It's amazing."

 

Click here to apply!

CAT Youth Theatre 2021 original production: THE STRANGEST YEAR: A CoVid Cabaret

An original show created by the CAT Youth Theatre- on ZOOM.

We couldn't share in person, but we still shared online! 

In the winter of 2021, members worked online creating an original piece looking at the extraordinary time we are living in now. 

In this year of Covid-19, virtual learning, social distancing, political unrest and upheaval, and constant uncertainty, the young people discussed how they, and we all, are living history. 

With a cast of 30, this show is a snapshot into this time - presented online for the first time in the company’s 25 year history.

CAT Youth Theatre 2020 original production: ENTRANCES & EXITS

CAT Youth Theatre 2019 original production: BLOOD

BLOOD: A sometimes humorous sometimes harrowing look at what blood reveals about our humanity: Violence, vulnerability, life, health, death, family, ancestry…the ins and outs of blood.

BLOOD was created through playbuilding, which gives young artists the opportunity to hear their “ own voice echo off the walls” and make new meanings from the material of their lives.

CAT Youth Theatre 2018 original production: DOMINOES

THROUGH THEATRE, NYC TEENS EXAMINE OUR LIVES AND THE WORLD AROUND US
CAT YOUTH THEATRE PRESENTS DOMINOES AT THE BARUCH PERFORMING ARTS CENTER
DOMINOES can be made of bone, ivory, wood or plastic. They are passed down through generations, played at family gatherings. It’s a game of strategizing, bluffing and manipulation, of winning or losing. Lines of dominoes are set up just to get knocked down. Where do things start? What sets things off? A breath, a look, a push, a pull, a statement, a question, a passion, an injustice – one thing leads to another - escalating. Do we contribute to the fall? Or stop it? When do we want to be a catalyst? What kind of ‘domino effect’ can we have on our communities, lives, and the world? CAT Youth Theatre’s production DOMINOES explores these concepts in an original production created by the members of the company.

Hear from some members of the cast of DOMINOES here.

CAT Youth Theatre 2017 original production: LANGUAGE

LAN•GUAGE - A systemic means of communicating ideas or feelings by the use of signs, sounds, gestures, or marks. Language is used to include and exclude, to express love and hate, to oppress and to speak out against wrongs. But whose voices are dominating? What are they saying? How do we choose to use our voices? CAT Youth Theatre examines these questions and more in an entertaining and provocative original production. 

 

Broadway Artists Connection Benefit for CAT Youth Theatre

WALLS- 2016 CAT Youth Theatre Original Production

Previous Shows

Themes for investigation vary from year to year in response to the group’s interests and concerns. Recent shows include:

 

SEE-SAW- 2015 CAT Youth Theatre Original Production

The See-Saw: an iconic image of childhood, of playgrounds, of innocence. But a see-saw can also represent balance and extremes, highs and lows, instability and risk. There is a different view from each end of the see-saw – how does what we see effect what we perceive? Where are things balanced in society, and what inequities exist? How do we choose to live our lives - what struggles do we engage in? CAT Youth Theatre examines these questions and more in an entertaining and provocative original production.

IN TRUTH - 2014 CAT Youth Theatre Original Production

From childhood, we are told to tell the truth, believe certain truths, and be true to ourselves and to each other. But how do we know the truth? Whose truth dominates and how are we misled?   IN TRUTH asked audiences to consider their own relationships with truth. Within our families or within our society, what are the stories we are told and those we choose to tell? Why are certain things harder for us to talk honestly about? From sex to drugs, from our current relationships to our past history, the CAT Youth Theatre examined these questions and more in an entertaining and provocative original production.

INSIDE OUT - 2013 CAT Youth Theatre Original Production

What meaning can we make from viewing the world through the concept of Inside Out?  Sweaters and socks can be turned inside out - but so can people and lives. When do we view things from the inside out and when from the outside in? Can we ever know someone inside out? Through a myriad of themes including relationships, responsibilities, health, and poverty, the CAT Youth Theatre presents INSIDE OUT, an entertaining and provocative original piece.

“Our year began with a shooting on the street outside the Empire State Building – right around the corner from where we were meeting. Later in the semester, New York City was hit by hurricane Sandy. It was probably not surprising that much of our work seemed to be concerned with how easily our lives can be turned inside out,” says CAT Youth Theatre founder and program director Helen White. “And yet amongst the upheaval, it also became even more important to laugh and celebrate life. The show uses the concept of INSIDE OUT to constantly flip the way we view the world.”

SEEKING JUSTICE - SPRING 2012 ORIGINAL CAT YOUTH THEATRE SHOW

What is our relationship to justice? Who does justice serve? When and how should we fight for justice?

In a time where celebrity court cases and high-profile crimes are all over the news and protests over injustices have erupted in New York and around the globe, questions of what is just, and how justice is even defined, are more relevant than ever. The CUNY Creative Arts Team's CAT Youth Theatre will explore many facets of justice in its upcoming original production of SEEKING JUSTICE, created by the members of the CAT Youth Theatre.

"SEEKING JUSTICE developed from the young people's observations on how they see the Justice System and then reflecting on what justice really is - and should be" says CAT Youth Theatre founder and program director Helen White. "Since November, the 31 members who are working on this production have been researching different kinds of justice - from the legal system to street justice, from vengeance to forgiveness, from families to schools - to generate original theatre that grapples with the question what IS justice? And who should decide?"

The Power Game: Looked at relationships to power, responsibilties of power, and what kinds of power young people have.

From Time to Time: Toured to communities of older adults and explored the question, “What does it mean to have lived a good life?’

What Lies Beneath: Explored death, grief, Alzheimer’s, suicide, sexuality, Facebook.

Gone to Look for America: “What does it mean to be American?” Themes included politics, history, race, debt, and the struggles of everyday New Yorkers.

War Zones: Explored literal and metaphorical sources of conflict, including HIV/Aids, gangs, the role of the media, home and family.

 

 


NYSCA  logo DCA logoThis program is supported, in part, by public funds from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, and from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

 

Click here to apply!

Apply to join the CAT Youth Theatre!

Interested in creating original theatre based on your ideas?

Do you have something to say? 

Are you in 6th-12th grade?

Membership is free to our members. There are no auditions required –

just a commitment to be an active participant of the CAT Youth Theatre community.

Young people of all identities and abilities are welcome.

CAT’s facilities are wheelchair accessible- all Youth Theatre sessions are currently happening on Zoom.

Click here to apply!

CAT Youth Theatre companies meet weekly to explore their ideas and to build their skills through

  • Theatre games & exercises
  • Improvisation
  • Scene development & rehearsals
  • Critical reflection & discussion

Each spring, the CAT Youth Theatre company (young people in high school) presents a full production of an original work in a professional venue.

Three times a year, the Junior Youth Theatre company (young people in middle school) present original work at the CAT studio.

THE MAIN POINTS

  • CAT Youth Theatre (9th through 12th grade) meets on TUESDAYS from 4pm-6:30pm
  • CAT JUNIOR Youth Theatre (6th through 8th grade) meets on WEDNESDAYS from 4pm-6:30pm
  • No theatre experience is necessary
  • There is no charge for participation
  • Students are admitted on a ‘first-come first-served’ basis – there is no audition process
  • Youth Theatre members are expected to attend every week. If a member must miss a session, they are responsible for informing us.
  •  

Apply here: bit.ly/CATYTApp, or call 212-652-2828.

Get involved- Join the Friends of the CAT Youth Theatre

The Friends of the CAT Youth Theatre are Youth Theatre Alumni, parents/guardians, past & present staff members, current & graduate students of the MA in Applied Theatre, and other supporters who produce events for the Youth Theatre community to come together to perform, celebrate, socialize, and raise funds to support the program.

We need your help! Current volunteer opportunities include:

Providing food for rehearsals
Assisting with load in and/or strike
Box Office and Ushering
Media and Publicity Support
Fundraising

Are you interested in getting involved with the Youth Theatre?  Want to help us plan activities, produce reunion events, fundraise, and keep the Youth Theatre community active throughout the year (and be a part of it yourself)? What ideas do you have?

Join the Friends of the CAT Youth Theatre! If you are interested in becoming a Friend, click here and let us know!

Stay connected! Join us:

-On Facebook

-On Twitter 

-On Instagram 

-On Youtube

-Alums can join our Alumni Facebook Group

 

CAT Youth Theatre Team:

Helen White
Program Director

Joey Schultz
Associate Program Director

Maureen Donohue
Program Manager

Keline Adams
Assistant Director

 

CUNY

© 2021 Creative Arts Team

101 W. 31st Street, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10001 | (212) 652-2800 | info@creativeartsteam.org



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