photo by haley friesen
On April 23, Youth Performance Company (YPC) held its biggest annual fundraiser, the Cattle Call, at the Metropolitan Ballroom in Golden Valley. YPC offers theater-arts and leadership learning opportunities to prospective artists, irrespective of their socioeconomic, cultural, or physical differences. The audience enjoyed being herded from performance to performance (hence: Cattle Call).
Maya Washington: I started as a young artist in YPC performances. Then I went to college and studied theater and worked full time as a professional actor. I later got an MFA in creative writing and started writing plays and poetry. Now I’m a filmmaker. I recently cast some YPC actors in my latest short film.
Carl Allen: I was involved in YPC from when I was 10 years old until I graduated high school. YPC didn’t directly lead to an arts career, but it helped me become more self-confident and recognize my desire to express myself in different ways. As a middle school boy, I didn’t find many positive outlets for my artistic inclinations. YPC offered me a place to feel safe.
Grace Whiting: There’s a big difference between doing theater in school and doing it at YPC. At school shows, people go expecting to see a high school performance, but YPC has a reputation for being a professional theater. We’re treated like adults, so there’s a higher level of responsibility and we’re pushed to be professionals.
Guthrie Nielsen: I’m 18 years old and have done six mainstage YPC shows. I’m the most nervous right before I go on stage, even now. You feel a lot of adrenaline. It’s different from being nervous before getting a shot at the doctor’s office because no matter what else happens, you need to go out there, and there’s pressure on you.
As told to Nancy Rosenbaum. Interviews have been condensed and edited.