Park Avenue Youth Theatre (PAYT) is a community of artists utilizing theatre to explore the world around them. Professional directors work with students ages 3-18 years to assess the realities of our changing world from their perspectives, collaborate on possible individual and collective differences they can make and create a piece of live theatre to demonstrate what those differences might look like in real time.
Each session is a combination of activities focused on building theatrical and collaborative skills. Directors assist in shaping new ideas and imaginations into an original play that is performed before an audience at the end of the semester.
The program is entirely participant-centered, and all content is based on the interests and strengths of each class. Directors work from a trauma-informed lens to foster empathy and guide students towards identifying potential solutions.
Starting in September 2020, weekly sessions will be held virtually on Wednesdays from 4:30 to 6:00pm (12 to 18 years old), and Thursdays from 4:00 to 5:00pm (7 to 11 years old).
“My kids are loving theater – thanks for all your hard work. I have been thinking a lot about what you said about kids needing a non-school place where they don’t have to assume their usual identity and place in the school caste system. I think they both feel like they are freer in theater than anywhere else” – Parent of two PAYT participants
“Youth Theatre is important to me because I learn so much and can be myself, knowing for a fact that I won’t be judged by others. Theater has given me a new sense of purpose, and being in the company of such an amazing array of successful actors makes me proud to be a member of PAYT.” – PAYT Participant (13 years old)
"I've been a member of PAYT for almost 7 years and I've loved every minute of it. I've made amazing friends, been in some incredible and fun performances, and had some of the best experiences of my life. The directors, especially Liz and Nicole, have been so inspirational. Their care and devotion towards the youth theater groups makes them what they are: safe places for young people to learn, practice theater, and most importantly have fun. I'm so thankful for them and the work they do.
I've discovered so much about myself through PAYT. It's been an incredible, fun experience that I wouldn't trade for any other. The PAYT community is one of the best I've ever been a part of, and these years of theater have meant so, so much to me." – PAYT Participant (16 years old)
"I enrolled my daughter in PAYT two years ago only because a friend had joined previously. Little did I know this activity, together with the student group and the instructors, was going to become her favorite extra curricular venture. She took out a lot from these sessions; made many friends and acquaintances who remained in contact even after the classes ended, learned many theatrical techniques that helped her in and outside the performing world, and gained confidence thanks to the frequent staging and the warmth received by peers and instructors. I give this place five stars for other reasons as well: they are extremely organized, the teachers are the most caring team I have ever met ( and I am myself a teacher), and the classes are imparted in a charming venue in the UES. It is without doubt my best find in NYC!" – Parent of PAYT participant
"PAYT has played a huge role in my life for the past few years, and it has become something I look forward to every week. The program has built my confidence and means a lot to me!" – PAYT Participant (13 years old)