The Young Shakespeare Players (YSP), a non-profit theater program founded in 1980 by Richard DiPrima, invites youth, ages 7–18, to perform full-length, original works of Shakespeare, G.B. Shaw, and Charles Dickens. There are no auditions or rejections. Any young person who registers will receive one or more substantial speaking roles. Each actor receives CDs, made by Richard DiPrima over the past thirty-seven years, which explain the meaning of every line of that actor's roles, enabling every participant to perform Shakespeare's words with complete understanding. These audio materials form the program’s core. Explanations might range from 17 hours for the title-role of Hamlet to 3 hours for Horatio to 15 minutes for a 2-line captain’s part. With these materials and the assistance of directors and fellow actors, a 7-year-old or a teenager, regardless of experience or reading ability, can assume a complex role with complete understanding, learning the meaning of unusual words, puns & jokes, the character’s context, motivations and relationships, historical references, and above all, the significance of every spoken line.
The program is designed to show its young participants (and their families and the community) that the works of William Shakespeare, G.B. Shaw, and Charles Dickens are not dull or above them, but delightful, accessible, and fun. Actors learn to appreciate both the language and the drama in these great works as well as the technical aspects of acting and stagecraft. Special programs are also available for veteran actors, ages 14–26, and adult actors, ages 18 and up. All participants participate in all aspects of the process--they help direct, by commenting on scenes during the rehearsal process, and all the technical business is handled by the actors as well. YSP typically has multiple casts of each show, and each participant has a main cast in which that person acts, as well as a "tech" cast, which cast that actor helps with all the backstage work. Performances are always admission-free, offering an affordable cultural and creative experience to participants and audience members. YSP furthers the emotional development of young people and provides them a community in which service and volunteerism is essential to the organization’s viability. The program is designed to show its young participants (and their families and the community) that the works of William Shakespeare, G.B. Shaw, and Charles Dickens are not dull or above them, but delightful, accessible, and fun.
YSP is committed to the principle that no one should be excluded from participation because of the costs of tuition. Anyone who needs a reduced tuition can select any rate above one-half the basic tuition fee and may opt to spread tuition payments over several months. If even one-half of the basic fee, spread over 4 monthly payments, is beyond your means, YSP will try to provide a larger scholarship or a more extended pay period
YSP Core Values:
YSP fosters a culture of inclusiveness and collaboration— not competition
YSP’s high standards of authenticity, understanding, and performance create optimal expectations and challenges that help the actors grow
YSP functions as a multi-layered community for the actors and their families
YSP always strives to bring out the beauty of “the best this species has to offer”