About Us

The people behind the scenes helping create the magic.

The Stage Is Set

The Youth Actors Academy of Lincoln (YAAL) is excited to bring a new dimension of youth theatre to Lincoln! We are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to enriching our youths’ interests in the performing arts.

Our vision focuses on exploring our youths’ creativity through a wide variety of dramatic mediums, by exposing students to the many aspects of theatre production. From acting to designing, singing to choreography, lighting to directing, students will have a true understanding of theatre. Most importantly, we have fun!

YAAL is dedicated to bringing affordable professional level theatre training to youth of all ages in our community and surrounding communities.

Through YAAL’s high-quality work, young people gain confidence and learn commitment, responsibility, communication, and team work skills that are critical to their success both in school and in life.

Who Can Get Involved

YAAL’s regular workshops are geared for youth 7 – 17. There is no experience necessary to participate in YAAL’s performance workshops. Many students learn through participation.

We at the Youth Actors’ Academy of Lincoln (YAAL) are thrilled that you are interested in having your child participate in one of our classes or workshops. The theatre is a magical place and the benefit to kids that partake in the craft of stage performance is immeasurable.

Our mission at YAAL is to take theatre to youth and bring youth to theatre. There are no boundaries to our mission. Regardless of circumstance, if a child wishes to participate, we will find a way to get them involved. We believe in being inclusive with no winners and losers, just friends.

Why Performing Arts?

Participation in the performing arts teaches important life skills and builds confidence in kids. The lessons learned will last a child a lifetime.

We often see kids grow in ways that take our breath away. Time and again, we hear parents comment about how this child they never knew existed has started to emerge, and it’s a very good thing. Theatre can be a powerful, life changing experience.

Another very important aspect of what we teach is that we all have something to contribute. No matter the role or responsibility, everyone is critical to the success of a production. Everyone belongs and everyone is accepted. Theatre kids are great. They look for the strengths that every fellow thespian possesses, and care little about the differences that often leave kids isolated in social settings. This is a trusted and welcoming home for many of our kids.

Where Should We Start?

Often, the first exposure many kids have to theatre is as a member of the audience. They sit in awe, watching kids close to their age bringing characters to life in a fairytale setting. After seeing a play, they decide that they want to be on stage singing, dancing, and living a story like the kids they have just seen. Parents also envision their child on stage and are eager to sign their child up for the next play so they can have a rich, rewarding experience that everyone will enjoy.

However, just as you would not put your child on the varsity soccer team with little or no training, you do not want to put them on stage in front of hundreds of people without training. The main stage productions are often complex, demanding performances that require a profound understanding of theatre. Many of the children in lead roles have been in 20 – 30 plays. We do not want to set a child up for failure by putting them in a tough situation without the knowledge and confidence they need to succeed.

If a child is in elementary or middle school and doesn’t have a lot of experience, sign them up for one of our introductory theatre classes. Examples would include an after-school class or one of our school break workshops or week-long summer camps. As part of these classes, we often conclude with a very low-pressure, fun performance for family and friends. This will teach your child the basics of theatre in an environment where they are much more likely to have success. It will also allow us a chance to evaluate what the next step should be, so your child can continue to find success.

Other important elements of theatre that a child should develop before jumping on stage include vocal training and training for creative movement. Here again, we have partnered with some great instructors in our area who are able to provide a solid performance foundation for your child.  Check back here often to stay current on what is being offered.

To reiterate, when it comes to your child’s foray into theatre, resist the urge to put them in a very stressful and demanding situation. Ease them into the process and there is a great chance they will reap all the benefits of a performing arts education. It really does not take long to get them on that big stage, so let us make sure we do it the right way.

"To be an actor you have to be a child." — Paul Newman