CITY OF BELLEVUE, WA
Mayor Mike Creighton

CROSSROADS YOUTH THEATRE

1. Briefly describe the structure of your program.

Crossroads Youth Theatre is a non-traditional recreation theatre program. The program is designed to include young people from all types of backgrounds and abilities. There is no fee for children, youth and teens to participate in the program. The programís no costs factor attracts young people who do not have the financial means to be involved in youth theatre programs. The programs also attract youth who are energetic and artistic and want to be a part of a quality theatre in lieu of negative behavior.

The program is staffed by a professional recreation staff with a background in performing arts. Numerous professionals volunteer their time to be apart of this active, vibrant program. Auditions, rehearsals and performances are done throughout the school and summer months, during the after school hours. Most practices are held between 4:00 - 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The break between productions is usually two to three weeks.

2. When was the program created and why?

In the late 1980s, Crossroads neighborhood was noted as a diverse community with numerous children and teens with nothing to do. In order to replace this reputation and provide the local youths and teens with constructive, positive activities, the Crossroads Youth Theatre was created. Crossroads Youth Theatre started as an art program at Crossroads Community Center in 1990 and expanded in 1992 when a permanent stage was built at the Crossroads Community Center. Several youth and teens in the Crossroads community had exhibited natural talent but with little or no focus for that creative energy. The Crossroads Youth Theatre teaches social and cultural integrity which encourages youth to work with all types of people and builds self esteem and confidence. The theatre program provides a healthy alternative to unsupervised play. Whether performing on stage or working behind the scenes, the theatre program gives youth and teens, that would otherwise be latchkey or involved negative behavior, an opportunity to learn a new talent.

3. How do you measure the programís effectiveness?

Crossroads Theatre Program uses surveys to measure the effectiveness of the program. Participants, parents and audiences are surveyed throughout the year to determine the success of the program and its effectiveness as a viable alternative for the after school hours. Response from the general public has been high with several newspapers and media pieces acclaiming the success of the program. Parents as well as children speak highly to the difference the program makes not only as an after school activity but as a family experience that all members of a family can enjoy together.

4. How is the program financed?

The City of Bellevue is the primary funding source for the Crossroads Theatre Program. Since there are several productions during the year, numerous arts, youth and civic grants and in-kind donations support the program. Due to copyright fees, performance costs and staffing, the annual cost of this program is approximately $40k. Revenues are generated from day camps and performance admissions.

5. How is the community involved in the program?

The Crossroads Theatre Program provides a healthy environment for parents who want to remain involved in their childrenís activities. Many parents help with the technical phase of the productions or may want to act with their children. Several theatre professionals within the Bellevue/Seattle area occasionally lend their services on specific productions. Over the past eight years the Bellevue community has enjoyed quality entertainment and support youth and teens who perform in the theatre.

6. What are the major lessons learned from this program?

  • The arts, music and performance provide a natural outlet for youth and teens and offers an alternative after school activity to sports.
  • After school and early evening hours are an excellent program hours for youth and teens and theatre programs do not have to be restricted to weekend practices.
  • Performing raises self-esteem and self confidence, building life skills and refusal skills for negative peer pressure.
  • Parents, theatre professionals and the community will be surprisingly supportive of this type of program for teens and will help promote it.

7. Contact person:

Lee Springgate, Director

City of Bellevue Parks & Community Services Programs

P.O. Box 90012

Bellevue, Washington 98009-0012

(425) 452-6881

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