Stephen Stearns

History & Mission

NEYT fosters the growth of young people through the practice of theatre arts in a welcoming, youth-centered community. We aspire for young people to discover the confidence and skills they need to be active participants in creating healthy communities.
-Adopted by the NEYT Board, May 2017

New England Youth Theatre celebrates 20 years in 2019 due to the tenacious vision of Founder Stephen Stearns. He imagined a theatre community “of, by, and for” young people that could be a haven where the “freedom of expression, freedom from fear” could teach us to become and express our best selves – a home that could “truly be the children’s theatre.” Where young people learn from trusted elders and one another to leap, to lead… and in turn teach us all. Those guiding principles of building community and empowering young people continue with us today.

The running thread that weaves through NEYT's history is that collaborative work - flowing between youth and professional mentorship. This collaborative relationship is how NEYT has grown from inhabiting a small restaurant with 30 young actors creating a production of A MIDSUMMER’s NIGHT DREAM to a bustling accessible youth theater of over 500 students and over 50 theater mentor/professionals engaged in all aspects of theater making.

We are a non-profit theatre committed to fostering the growth of young people through the practice of theatre arts in a welcoming, youth-centered community.

We aspire for young people to discover the confidence and skills they need to be active participants in creating healthy communities.

CORE VALUES

YOUTH-CENTERED
We believe in the creative force of youth as artists, learners, and community members. At NEYT, we help young people thrive in a community where they are trusted collaborators. Experienced mentors empower young people to meet the challenges theatre work puts before us. We believe the difficulties and joys that emerge from this complex collaboration facilitate resilience and independence. NEYT is for youth and by youth.

INCLUSIVE
At NEYT, everyone is welcome. We work to foster a culture of belonging and mutual respect through the practice of honesty, patience, and empathy. We welcome people of diverse backgrounds and abilities and value the perspectives of all our partners. We are dedicated to having a physical space that is accessible to all and strive to offer programs that meet a wide variety of interest and need.

HIGH-QUALITY PRACTICE IN THEATRE ARTS
NEYT offers young people the opportunity to engage in an environment where we strive for artistic excellence. We balance the demands of both process and product. Our young people acquire tangible skills in the broad range of theatre arts. We recruit and retain practicing artists, educators, and staff to support students in creating brave, exemplary theatre experiences.

PLAY
NEYT is a place where youth experience and express the joy of creativity with others. We intentionally use play as a creative catalyst. It is an integral part of making art and growing community. Playfulness allows us to explore, discover, respond… and opens the door to creative force.