Valley Youth Theatre Introduces Historic Scholarship Program as they launch their 20th Anniversary Season
Program will allow youth performers and technicians to earn money for college
As Valley Youth Theatre enters its 20th season of providing award-winning, world-class entertainment to the Valley, it announces a groundbreaking program which will allow the members of the cast and crew to earn money that can be used to attend post-secondary school.
“Valley Youth Theatre is a leading brand in developing young talent and the quality of performances that our young people put on says they shouldn’t be treated like amateurs,” says Producing Artistic Director Bobb Cooper. “These young performers put in hundreds of hours for each production and now we will have another way to reward them for their efforts.”
VYT performers have been making their mark on the world since 1989. Whether as a lawyer, teacher, doctor, theatre director or professional actor, VYT performers have taken their increased confidence and life skills and made successes.
While true that the most famous products of VYT are making a mark in the entertainment industry (including Jordin Sparks, Max Crumm, Emma Stone and Chelsea Staub), many VYT performers head off to college to pursue careers other than theatre. This program will allow them to earn money to help offset their college expenses.
Daniel Shum, founder of DTS Global and a member of VYT’s Board of Directors, spearheaded the campaign with a two-year financial commitment which allowed for the program’s development.
"I am delighted to have an opportunity to contribute to an innovative scholarship program for the young performers at Valley Youth Theater," said Shum. "It is a small token of appreciation for all their hard work and dedication to the pursuit of excellence in the Arts and I hope that this program provides means for their further education and training.”
The program will track how many productions a particular actor, orchestra member or technician participates in during their time at VYT. Participants will be paid a stipend per performance and that money will be held in an account. When the performer turns 18 and enters college, the money will be distributed throughout their college career.
“My children have been in VYT productions for the past two years,” said Kim Martinez. “The confidence and growth I’ve seen in my son and daughter, and their development as actors, has been amazing and rewarding in itself. But now that they will be earning money for college as they rehearse and perform, is even more amazing and raises VYT standards even higher.”
Along with Mr. Shum’s initial pledge, VYT is pursuing additional financial backing to ensure the scholarship fund thrives and this unique program can be sustained.
About Valley Youth Theatre
Named by the Arizona Republic as The Best Place to Become a Future Star, Valley Youth Theatre is a world-class, nationally recognized non-profit organization that targets young people age 7 – 19 for participation in and attendance at quality live theatre productions. VYT’s mission is to inspire young people to be the best that they can be by providing them with lifelong lessons through a wide range of performing arts opportunities. VYT is an award-winning theatre company whose Alum include American Idol, Jordin Sparks and Broadway Star, Max Crumm and the Disney Channel’s Chelsea Staub. Valley Youth Theatre is supported in part by the Arizona Commission on the Arts with funding from the State of Arizona and the National Endowment for the Arts. Partial funding also is provided by the Phoenix Arts Commission through appropriations from the Phoenix City Council. Valley Youth Theatre is a member of Theatre Communications Group, the national organization for the American Theatre. For more information, visit