What’s New!

For tickets to performances or fundraisers call the ArtsTix Community Box Office:

(260) 422-4226, or visit tickets.artstix.org


Heather Headley Fundraiser


Youtheatre’s 80th Anniversary Fundraiser will be starring the Tony & Grammy award winning Broadway Star, Heather Headley who kick-started her Broadway career here in Fort Wayne, Indiana at Northrop High School! Visit our Heather Headley Fundraiser page for more details!


Youtheatre’s Fall Newsletter-fresh off the press!

Stay up to date with the latest edition of our newsletter! Inside this issue: Notes from the Director’s Chair, Our 80th Season Opener The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Our 80th Anniversary Open House Reunion, An Evening with Heather Headley fundraiser, Christmas in the new Parkview Physicians Group Artslab, Storybook Theatre’s new fall tour, and lastly a spotlight on our new Outreach Educator, Heather Closson!

Fall Newsletter Youtheatre 2014 NEW


  The Steadfast Tin Soldier

November 11th & 12th , 4-6 pm

for more information visit our Auditions page!

Remembering Janice McNellis

Janice McNellis became the Director of Youtheatre in 1974, the same year that Youtheatre moved into the Arts United Center during our 40th Anniversary Season. Here is the article from the Journal Gazette that is in our archives introducing Janice:

“As newly hired director of the Fort Wayne Youtheatre, Janice McNellis is not only recruiting children for the cast of her first production, “The Canterville Ghost,” but she’s also on the lookout for an adult capable of playing a ‘witty, charming ghost.’

‘Boris Karloff needn’t apply,’ Mrs. McNellis said firmly. ‘I believe in tempered eeriness. I am happy that the performance will be near Halloween, though. That will help with the magic.’

‘Magic’ is apparently one of Mrs. McNellis’ favorite words. In fact, it’s difficult for her to discuss her activities with children’s theatre without using it.

‘Every child is a new experience–each is fresh, honest, and alive. Children give the theatre its magic.’

But don’ think, to borrow a phrase from the Bard, that all that glitters is necessarily gold–children’s theatre isn’t all magic.

‘People don’t see the whole production,’ Mrs. McNellis stated. ‘They say, don’t you love working with the magic on stage?’ They don’t think of the play in terms of work.

‘I try to stress the totality of the stage with the children,’ she explained. ‘I try to stop them from thinking in terms of ‘I got the lead.’ I ant them to think of themselves as part of a production crew. Everything on the stage–props, lighting and non-speaking actors–adds to the magic.’

Mrs. McNelis worked with children’s theatre at the Park Department in former years and is teaching third, fourth, fifth, and sixth graders in the Youtheatre’s dramatics classes. Registration for these dramatics classes–which are not prerequisites for the Youtheatre productions–will be from 10am to noon Saturday, Oct. 5, at the Community Center for the Performing Arts Green Room.

Theoretically, Mrs. McNellis is in an ideal position as teacher and director for the Youtheatre. She should be able to teach the children in the dramatics classes to perform the way she wants them to, then take the more talented students and put them in her productions.

But, Mrs. McNellis insisted, that isn’t quite the way it works out. Teaching dramatics and directing productions are similar, but separate, activities and doing both can cause conflicts.

‘In the classes,’ she said, ‘I stress participation and activities. The classes shouldn’t be performance oriented. In fact, I am not interested in having so many Shirley Temples. An introverted, shy youngster can not only benefit tremendously from the classes, but the shy youngster sometimes turns out to be the better actor. As a director, however, I want the performance to be excellent. After all, people are paying money to watch a performance and if they don’t enjoy it, they won’t come back.’

In Children’s theatre, Mrs. McNellis said, ‘the children learn that they can’t always have everything they want. ‘ Mrs. McNellis describes her working personality as ‘I’m a nice guy, but I won’t take any guff.’

‘It’s good for everyone to be in front of an audience,’ she declared. ‘But children’s theatre can be fun and creative. It’s part of growing up.’

“The Canterville Ghost,” an adaption of a short story written by Oscar Wilde, will be presented Oct. 12 and 13 at the Community Center for the Performing Arts.”

–Written by Kathy Hoch

Winterval 2015

Downtown Activities 9am-10pm

Beat the winter blahs by bringing the whole family out for fun winter crafts and activities, ice carving demonstrations, and yummy treats to warm you inside and out. Youtheatre will be performing 3 shows at 2 locations downtown!

“All Stories are Anansi’s” (Do You Want to be Free)

A West African Story about a powerful spirit!

11am & 2pm in the Parkview Physician’s Group ArtsLab

(Auer Center Black Box Theatre)

“Dr. Seuss is on the Loose!” 

The American classic!

2pm in the Community Center on Main Street!

visitfortwayne.com will have the complete schedule of events for this fun filled day for all families!


For tickets to performances or fundraisers call the ArtsTix Community Box Office:

(260) 422-4226, or visit tickets.artstix.org


All Youtheatre Main Stage shows at Arts United Center 303 E. Main St. Fort Wayne, IN 46802


foellinger foundation

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