has been a professional-quality theatre dedicated to helping young people achieve their full potential through meaningful engagement, education and excellence in the performing arts.
During its first year, productions were held in a college, community center and black box theater before a three-year lease was struck for basement space in a shopping center. Then as now, families and friends of the cast volunteered to assist with everything from box office and concession sales to sewing costumes and building sets.
After converting an old car dealership into a 202-seat theater, VYT launched its 1999-2000 Season and won the 1999 DREAMR Award (Downtown Revitalization Effort Awards of Merit and Recognition) for turning the property into a “vital cultural attraction.”
In this new space, VYT attracted its largest audiences ever with award-winning productions featuring an ethnically-diverse cast who were attracted by open auditions, fee-free participation and a learning environment with no racial or social barriers.
VYT also offers a comprehensive education program for young adults ages three and up, a Sponsor-A-Seat program providing at-risk youth the opportunity to attend a free performance, and its award-winning Literacy and the Arts program to help inner-city students improve their reading and literacy skills and develop an appreciation for live theater.
Recognized as one of the most dynamic youth theatres in the country, VYT has produced more than 150 musicals and plays since 1989, ranging from classics (Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland) and Shakespeare (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) to Broadway musicals (West Side Story, Bye Bye Birdie, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat), and Arizona premieres of 13, Aida, CATS, Dora the Explorer Live, Geppetto and Son, Pinkalicious, Freckleface Strawberry: The Musical, and They Chose Me!
VYT has won several prestigious awards including Readers' Choice: Best Live Theater - Arizona Republic (2012); Best Place to Take a Bow - Phoenix Magazine, Readers' Choice: Best Performing Arts Group for Children - Arizona Republic (2011); Best Theatre Company - Arizona Republic (2010); Critics’ Picks: Best Children’s Theatre - Arizona Republic (2009); Arts Organization of the Year by Arts & Business Council, Governor’s Arts Award for Arts in Education for Literacy and the Arts program (2008); Best Cultural Attraction - Downtown Phoenix Partnership (2002); Outstanding Diversity in Programming - Black Board of Directors (2001); Winner of more than four dozen National Youth Theatre Awards (2007-2013).
VYT is the only youth theatre of its kind to be a member of the prestigious Theatre Communications Group, a national organization fostering growth of professional nonprofit theaters.