In 1978, Donna Peck and Bob Moore set out to establish a children's theatre wing of The Players Club of Swarthmore. In that first year they taught a few core classes and put on a small production of Snow White. As each year passed, the workshop grew and was redefined over and over again by the teachers and the students. However, one basic philosophy has never changed. YPTW is about learning theatre while learning about ourselves. Children who are involved in theatre learn to use their imaginations, to celebrate differences, to reach out to an audience and to one another and to gain self-confidence through taking risks. Many of the YPTW staff members are certified teachers. We spend Monday to Friday with children. Yet we all recognize that our time spent with these students is somehow different. We get to watch these children grow over a period of years. Many students start with YPTW in grade school and stay through high school. Some even come back to teach or help backstage after graduation. But even if a student's visit to YPTW is short, they will leave with a greater knowledge and appreciation of the theatre arts and perhaps of themselves.
One of our alumni, Brian Lowdermilk, wrote a song for our 25th anniversary gala.
The chorus sums up much that is YPTW:
"In this place no one’s left behind
In this place no one’s going to laugh or tell you you can’t fly
This is how we learn that walls can give
This is how we learn that dreams should live
And light each child’s face
In this place”