The End of an Era
Offices and Classrooms are now located at Emmanuel Episcopal Church
4400 86th Ave SE, Mercer Island
Our Mailing Address is still P.O. Box 296, Mercer Island, WA 98040
Performances will be presented at Emmanuel Church and a variety of other locations. Check our website for up to date information.
For 30 years, Youth Theatre Northwest (YTN) has made a home out of a former middle school, leased from the Mercer Island School District. Under this roof, tens of thousands of students have explored and honed their creativity, developed dynamic life skills and performed to over a hundred thousand audience members. A significant renovation in 1999 created a beautiful and professional auditorium and mainstage for audiences of up to 200 and a smaller studio stage for 85. YTN filled this second-hand building with lots of creativity and love, establishing a nurturing and safe second home for generations of children.
Due to rising school enrollment, the School District must reclaim their school. Following the passage of February's school bond, YTN agreed to move out of its facility by June 29, 2014. Our 14,000 square foot facility will be demolished and a brand new elementary school will be built in its place. Of course, YTN is happy for the many school children who have been housed in portables due to overcrowding. They deserve high-quality and equitable education. YTN applauds the Mercer Island School District's work to enhance education by building a 21st Century school on this Island.
We have been fortunate to have exclusive use of our 14,000 square foot facility as a dynamic hub for offices, classes, performances, storage and production support . The last 30 years have provided opportunities for YTN to establish itself as a regional leader in arts education. It is now time to move on to our destined and grander future.
Our Bright Future
YTN knew this day was coming and has spent the last several years strategizing the future. The City of Mercer Island is generously providing surplus land at a nominal cost for a new YTN home that will be strategically located in the heart of the community’s Town Center. The site is the former Recycling Center, adjacent to Mercerdale Park. A separate organization and Board of Directors, comprised of Island leaders, has been formed to build the Mercer Island Center for the Arts (MICA) as a premiere venue for many Mercer Island Arts organizations. YTN will serve as the anchor tenant. Planning, design, fundraising and construction may take 3–6 years. Respected arts advocate John Gordon Hill (former Chair of Cornish College) is spearheading this effort. Support for our vision from the broader Mercer Island community is strong. MICA has been endorsed by several arts organizations across the region and has received $105,000 in seed money for initial planning. The MICA board is on a fast track timeline for fundraising and construction but projects like these are complicated and dynamic. Learn more about the Mercer Island Center for the Arts.
Our Interim Years
YTN is excited about the future. However, we are up to 6 years away from moving into MICA and children are depending on us right now. Therefore, YTN is creating an interim home to sustain vital programming that serves our family of approximately 2,000 children per year. With its large and welcoming campus and close proximity to YTN’s current location, Emmanuel Episcopal Church (EEC) was determined to be an ideal location for an interim home. At EEC, YTN will have exclusive offices and some classroom space. YTN will also convert EEC’s Parish Hall into a 150 seat black box theatre. Our mission of "Theatre by kids and for kids" will survive the transition and thrive as we ramp up for our future home. Visit the Emmanuel Episcopal Church website to learn more about their campus and community!
We need your help!
Of course, moving and building an interim home are monumental challenges for YTN. Over the next 6 months, there will be ample opportunities to provide help and support. Please consider:
- Volunteering for one of our many work parties. We need help packing, sorting, moving and preparing spaces. Click here to see our work schedule!
- Donating to our Transition Fund. Moving and creating an interim home are expensive endeavors. Click here and show your support!
- Offering your expertise. We are entering into a whole new era for YTN and need a variety of skills to survive and thrive (fundraising, communications, technology, project management, and more). Want to be on our team? Please email our Board Leadership to learn more: Martina Dalton (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Kathryn Lerner ( email@example.com).
As we prepared to move out of our facility, our kids shared their thoughts and reflections on our lobby walls. We thank them for leaving their mark!