ARCHIVE - State of the Field: Jeremy Winchester (8-5-15)

FYT Diary of Anne Frank

Full Name

Jeremy Winchester

Professional Affiliations

Flint Youth Theatre; AATE, TYA/USA

How do you define your role in the field of Theatre for Youth?

Increasingly, I identify primarily as a Collaborator.  I have the good fortune of working as an Artistic Director, a Director, an Adaptor, a Designer, and an Executive.  As an Artistic Director, I bring artists together.  As a Director and Designer, I make plays with them.  As an Adaptor, I partner with and reshape the written word.  And as an Executive, I connect all of the above to the community.  Collaboration drives all aspects of my work in the field.

Number of Years in the Field


What is inspiring about the field of Theatre for Youth at this moment in time?

I am inspired by the sustained national efforts at new play development.  While the great stories need to be told to each successive generation, we also have the obligation to continue to push the field forward by embracing, and producing, new plays.

What is the best Theatre for Youth experience youve had in the past 12 months?

My organizations recent production of THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK.  As with all our shows, the cast was age-appropriate, so we were working with teen-aged Anne, Margot and Peter, but all of the adults in the show were local professionals.  And we were able to recreate on our stage an annex of approximately the same size as the historical one.  Finally, we partnered with the local Jewish Federation on a series of engagement efforts.  Given the recent resurgence in awareness ongoing global genocides, the production felt immediate and vital.

Where is field of Theatre for Youth going next?

Who knows, but where I hope it is going is greater inclusiveness, more risk-taking, higher production values.  Making plays for the whole of the community, regardless of the size of the community.

What are three words that describe of embody the field of Theatre for Youth?

Innovative, thought-provoking, welcoming

FYT PinocchioWhat does our field need to do better or differently?

I am interested in exploding the distinction between theater for young audiences and the larger theater community.  While there are certainly many plays that are not suited for young children, young people can be exceptionally sophisticated viewers.  By creating a division that need not exist, we draw a line.  That line, like any, separates.  One of theaters great powers is that it can bring people of disparate backgrounds together for a communal experience.  Young people and their adults truly appreciating the same material, together, in a room full of other young people and adults, opens opportunities for exchange, dialogue, growth.

Why do you work in the field of Theatre for Youth?

At my organization, the work is about theater for the entire community, with a special focus on Youth at the center of that.  Because of this, I am able to make work for my home community, my neighbors, local teachers, politicians, retired citizens, etc.  People I may run into at the grocery store.  People who will come to the show for the dialogue that happens afterward.  And by focusing specifically on young people, I am making an investment in the future of my home.

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