Bringing the Arts to Light

Students in the Jennersville YMCA Performing Arts Company rehearse a performance of Willy Wonka at the Jennersville YMCA Theater

At the YMCA of Greater Brandywine, we strive to nurture the potential of every child by providing youth with the tools and resources they need to succeed in life.

At the Jennersville YMCA and the Upper Main Line (UMLY) YMCA, our theater programs boomed with youth learning to express themselves and build confidence in 2019. 

In the four years since Janelle Brandberg, Arts & Humanities Director at UMLY, took over the theater program, it has grown from basement performances at a local church with 100 folding chairs to 177 actors and 2,000 tickets sold per performance at the Tredyffrin Easttown Middle School. 

“We don’t turn anyone who auditions away,” says Brandberg. “They all have to audition, but all are accepted. This program gives kids confidence in themselves here and at school. It is not just about the performances,” she continues, “they learn acceptance and being kind to each other. They take pride in what they accomplish. In many ways it is almost therapeutic for the kids.”

The Jennersville YMCA has also seen tremendous growth in their theater program, especially since they added a new theater to their branch in 2015. They now have more than 170 actors and 15 performances for each of their fall, winter and spring shows. Paige Causey, Director of Art & Humanities at Jennersville, believes their program is special because they offer a well-rounded theatre education as well as opportunities for social and emotional exploration and expression. 

“Our program cultivates empathy and understanding of others’ experiences though they may be vastly different than our own,” explains Paige. “We focus heavily on team-work, self-pride, professionalism, and intellectual and emotional exploration. Basically, we create, we play, we dance, we prepare, we solve problems, and we have a whole lot of fun!”