The History of MYP
Pat Immel, Associate Professor of Theatre at Northwest Missouri State University and Vanessa Parsons, Vocal Music Director at Maryville High School, came up with the idea for MYP in 2007 while discussing how to keep their school-age children involved in the arts during the summer months. Maryville, like many small communities in rural Missouri, had an abundance of sports-related activities for young people during the school break, but virtually no activities designed specifically to engage and promote the performing arts. Understanding the importance of the arts in student growth and development, and recognizing the loss of
retention of arts-related material during the summer months, Immel and Parsons developed a cross-curricular summer day camp designed to address both issues. The camp, which runs for approximately three weeks in the early summer, allows students to produce and perform a fully-fledged Broadway musical theater performance.
In 2011, MYP had grown to a level that exceeded one cast. As a result, we began to split the company into two casts, doubling the number of speaking parts and number of performances. Also in 2011, MYP began offering cross-curricular enrichment classes for all registered students. These classes allow students to go deeper into the arts, studying special topics such as improvisation, set design, choreography, song writing, and other fun and interesting topics.
MYP began with a small volunteer staff and even smaller budget in 2007, producing a musical version of the classic fairytale, The Princess and the Pea. Approximately 40 students in grades second through ninth produced the musical for an audience of 600 family and community members. Eight productions later, our camp has grown tremendously not only in number of participants, but also in reach and scope. In 2018, MYP produced Alice in Wonderland Jr. with over 150 students participating and nearly 2,000 audience members enjoying four productions!
The Philosophy of MYP
MYP strongly believes in the positive role the arts play in the development and growth of young people. The arts encourage and nurture vital personal skills – including public speaking, critical thinking, teamwork, communication skills, artistry, self-control, movement, and many others – that are crucial to success later in life. Volumes of research show that those students involved in curricula including the arts perform better in math, reasoning, logic, and consistently place higher on college entrance exams. From a less empirical point of view, every student possesses a strong desire to belong to a group and excel at some activity. The reality is that not every student has the physical prowess or desire to compete in physical sports. For those students especially, MYP exists to provide a creative outlet to anyone seeking to experience and learn about the arts during the summer months.
The MYP Method
MYP currently produces two shows each calendar year: our primary camp production for area students and a more traditional community theatre production in July called Second Stage. Our primary production takes place in June of each year. Productions are selected based on anticipated cast size, licensing cost, and appropriateness for age level. To date, MYP has only utilized “junior” shows, which limit performance times to under 90 minutes, reduce scripts to only age-appropriate material, and cap the age of performers to the ninth grade. This category of production is much more cost effective in terms of licensing, and much more manageable in terms of timeline and young attention spans.
MYP is open to any student in grades second through ninth grade. Our geographic scope is unlimited as well, but logistics generally dictate that our students come from within a 1-hour radius of Maryville, Missouri. Registration opens March 1st of each year, and pre-registration is required to ensure we have an accurate count for materials. An audition process is held for those students desiring a speaking part, but every student that signs up for MYP is guaranteed an opportunity to perform live on stage. Students not wishing to appear on stage may assist with our technical crew, operating spot lights, scenery changes, sound, lights, properties (props), and other related tasks.
One unique aspect of MYP is our timeline of production: students only rehearse for two weeks before the performance (lead characters rehearse three weeks). This accelerated schedule has a number of benefits. First, by not monopolizing a large part of the summer break, we have more students available to participate. In addition, the shorted timeline helps to secure the higher number of volunteer staff members (currently more than 30).
MYP productions take place in the Schneider Center for the Performing Arts at Maryville High School in Maryville, Missouri.
The Finances of MYP
To help ensure any student with the desire to participate may do so, MYP strives each year to keep camp costs as low as possible. In 2019, MYP students are contributing $75 per person to participate in the production (additional participants in the same family receive a $10 price break). In return, students not only participate in the production, but also receive a t-shirt, certificate and medal, and attend the family picnic and cast party. A limited number of scholarships have been offered in the past, as funds allow, helping families participate in MYP that may not possess the financial means to do so.
The remainder of MYP’s revenue is made up from ticket sales, program advertising sales, donations from individuals and service clubs, and other special performances.
Putting on a summer camp for 150+ kids is not an inexpensive endeavor! An average MYP summer camp budget is between $12,000 and $15,000. This pays for shirts, snacks, sets, props, costumes, equipment rental, a company picnic and pizza party, programs, advertising, etc. The ONLY way MYP is able to pull this off is due to the extraordinary support of our MYP families, volunteers, business community, civic organizations, and many, many others that contribute to our camp. If you are interested in supporting Maryville Young Players please visit our donation page. THANK YOU!
The MYP Board of Directors
Maryville Young Players is incorporated in the State of Missouri and currently governed by a five member board: