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September 13, 2018
Giving Back: Jill Dunn Jones
For Jill Dunn Jones, Artistic Director of Pennsylvania Youth Theatre (PYT), and for the kids, young adults, and audiences who are a part of its mission, it’s all about connection. Connecting with
a story, or yourself. Connecting to different people and experiences. Connecting to the community of Bethlehem, as a vibrant part of its arts scene and heritage.
And connecting to Jill’s own past: she isn’t just Artistic Director—she was a kid at PYT. When Jill returned
to Bethlehem after working in drama education and outreach in New York, she was naturally drawn to the Bethlehem institution, now in its 33rd season. “The vision is to create a space where kids can be who they are,” she says. “We give structure to that, but it’s their time to explore.”
PYT offers summer camps and voice, drama, and dance instruction year-round, and a slate of productions—recent shows include Hamilton and Frozen, with Annie, The Little Mermaid, and Our Town coming soon—that feature full youth casts.
PYT loves sharing those productions with not just family and friends, but general audiences and school groups—kids who may not have experienced live theater before—by offering discounted daytime shows at the Ice House. PYT’s flagship outreach program, Curtains Up On Reading, is even more in-depth: a multi-week, in-school drama residency where students explore translating storybooks from the page to the stage.
“Even if we don’t know how,” says Jill, “we always want to be connected.” Exploring theater makes that connection more possible.
Learn more about the Pennsylvania Youth Theatre at: 123pyt.org