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Youth Theatre

The Champaign Park District Youth Theatre program gives young children the opportunity to learn the basics of live theatrical presentation – on the stage of a freshly-restored historic theatre! Through immersion in everything from acting and singing to set-design and prop creation, participating children take away a new appreciation for the arts at the completion of each 7-week course. The program is typically offered 5 times annually: twice a year for youth grades 2 through 4, twice a year for youth grades 5 through 8, and once a summer for youth grades 5 through 8. Each program culminates in a live stage musical presented at the Virginia Theatre over a period of 2-3 days in front of a large and lively audience.

Every child who registers for the program is cast in a part, learns the music, lines and movements involved in bringing the selected play to the stage. They also receive instruction in selecting costumes, understanding stage directions, proper use of stage make up, and more. Each program begins with a Parent Meeting (following your registration) where details about the audition and rehearsal process are shared. Youth Theatre Staff are experts in the fields of drama, comedy, choreography, and music and have extensive early educational experience. And, most importantly, they always make it fun.

Young performers at all experience levels are encouraged to register.

Questions: melanie.kahler@champaignparks.org

Youth Theatre Programs


6th-12th Graders (2022/23 school year)
James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim take everyone’s favorite storybook characters and bring them together for a timeless, yet relevant, piece… and a rare modern classic. The Tony Award-winning book and score are both enchanting and touching.

This story follows a Baker and his wife, who wish to have a child; Cinderella, who wishes to attend the King’s Festival; and Jake, who wishes his cow would give milk. When the Baker and his wife learn that they cannot have a child because of a Witch’s curse, the two set off on a journey to break the curse. Everyone’s wish is granted, but the consequences of their actions return to haunt them later with disastrous results.

Deadline: Thursday, May 25
Parent Meeting: Thursday, June 1, 6p on Zoom
Auditions: Monday, June 5, 4-8p at Springer Cultural Center
Call-Backs: Tuesday, June 6, 6-8p at Springer Cultural Center

Rehearsals | Day | Time | Fee(R/NR) | Min/Max
June 12 – July 13* | M-Th |12 – 3p | $159/$209 | 20/30

There is a $35 non-refundable fee for this program.

No Rehearsal: July 3 – 6*
Rehearsal Location: Springer Cultural Center
Tech Week: July 17 – July 19, 5-9:30p, at the Virginia Theatre
Performance Dates & Location: July 20 – 22 @ 7p, Saturday 12p at the Virginia Theatre

Parents will be asked to volunteer 10 hours per family, and help with their child’s costume.

Parents, please fill out a volunteer application here >>



3rd-6th Graders
The wonderful adventures of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory light up the stage in this captivating adaptation of Roald Dahl’s fantastical tale. Featuring the enchanting songs from the 1971 film, in addition to a host of fun new songs, Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka JR. is an incredibly fun musical guaranteed to open all imaginations, as well as deliver some lovely lessons on friendship and family along the way.

There is a $35 non-refundable fee for this program

Deadline: Monday, March 27
Parent Meeting: Monday, April 3, 6p on Zoom
Auditions: Thursday, April 6, 4-8p at Springer Cultural Center
Call-Backs: Friday, April 7, 6-8p at Springer Cultural Center
Fee (R/NR): $121/$171
Min/Max: 30/40
Rehearsal Location: M/Tu – Springer Cultural Center; W – Hays Recreation Center
Tech Week: May 22-24, 5:30-8:15p at the Virginia Theatre
Performance Dates & Location: May 25-27, 7p and May 27, 12p a the Virginia Theatre
Questions: alexis.webb@champaignparks.org or 217-398-2376

Parents are required to volunteer a minimum of 10 hours per family and help with some of their child’s costumes.


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