Pride Youth Theater Alliance (PYTA) announces dates for 2013 national Queer Youth Theater Directors’ Retreat

The Pride Youth Theater Alliance (PYTA), a national network of arts, educational, and social service organizations from across the U.S. and Canada has announced the dates and location for its fourth annual Queer Youth Theater Director’s Retreat. This year’s retreat will be hosted by the New Conservatory Theatre Center in San Francisco and take place August 1 to 4, 2013.

PYTA’s mission is to connect and support queer youth theater organizations, programs, and professionals committed to empowering lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and allied (LGBTQA) youth in North America.

Sixteen (16) groups from across the U.S. and Canada, representing almost every region of North America, make up the founding membership of PYTA: About Face Theatre (Chicago), Add Verb at University of New England (Portland, ME), Dreams of Hope (Pittsburgh), Fringe Benefits (Los Angeles), GLBT Colorado (Denver), Neutral Zone at Ann Arbor Teen Center (Ann Arbor), Pride Cab at Buddies In Bad Times Theatre (Toronto), Pride Players at The Rose Theater (Omaha), Proud Theater (Madison, WI), Rainbow Pride (San Bernardino, CA), TAYPE at Theatre Askew (New York City), True Colors at The Theater Offensive (Boston), and Youth Aware at New Conservatory Theatre Center (San Francisco). Company Q at the GLSO (Lexington, KY), Creative Action Project (Austin, TX), and Oakland Center for the Arts (Youngstown, OH) are this year’s Incubator Fund theaters, newly formed organizations providing theater arts programming for LGTBTQ youth, which are paired with established members of PYTA for mentorship and training.

Under the leadership of national co-chairs  Evelyn Francis from The Theater Offensive and Brian Guehring from The Rose Theater, PYTA is dedicated to promoting successful models for LGBTQ youth theater programming, both nationally and internationally. Despite the enormous civil rights gains made by the LGBT community in recent years, its youth still face enormous challenges on a daily basis, including bullying, rejection by families, homelessness, discrimination, violence, depression, at-risk behaviors, and suicide. PYTA provides support to community-based organizations that celebrate the resilience and insight of these youth, while facilitating safe spaces for the creative expression of their stories.

The annual Director’s Retreat enables the PYTA membership to gather together to deeply share knowledge, trade resources, and experience each other’s work. By coordinating these organizations, documenting their diverse practices, connecting them to funding opportunities, and increasing awareness of their work within the field, PYTA is positioned to influence the wider movement of theater for young audiences. The annual Director’s Retreat is made possible by the support of the Mukti Fund.

For more information about PYTA or the retreat, please visit www.prideyouththeateralliance.com, or “like” the group’s page on Facebook. You can also contact Trina Jackson, PYTA National Program Coordinator, at trina@prideyouththeateralliance.org