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Youth Performance Companies

Piven Theatre Workshop offers its most intensive artistic training to members of its two Youth Companies – The Performance Project (for grades 7 through 9) and The Young People’s Company (for Grades 10 through 12). These two companies are housed inside The Lab at Piven. In the beginning, the Lab was created to provide mentorship opportunities to emerging youth theatre artists and then later opened up to developing professional adult artists. While the younger companies are trained separately from the adult company, the Lab allows time for directors, writers, adapters and performers of all ages the opportunity to create, collaborate, and present experimental new work together in a dynamic and free environment.

At Piven, we recognize artists as artists at any age.  Therefore, we hold our youth performers to the same standards both artistically and professionally as our adult performers. Members of the Youth Companies inside of our Lab are continually collaborating with older professional artists who are training in the adult classrooms of the Lab. Teachers of the Workshop’s Youth Companies are encouraged to collaborate with the youth artists they teach. In many cases, Youth Company performers are receiving training from their teachers one day and performing with their teachers on another. These relationships frequently develop into long-lasting collaborative relationships, which come back to the Workshop stage with new and important theatrical works. The special relationship between artists, separated by generations, is an example of how the Piven Theatre Workshop does not just mentor talent, but develops future peers and collaborators.

Due to the elite nature of our youth performance companies, they are by invite only. Students may be invited after completing Piven’s core classes.

“The love I have for acting is in large part due to Byrne and Joyce. They imparted their love of the craft to me and I am forever grateful.”

Lili Taylor

Alum / Actor

“… one of this area’s most distinguished actor training centers.”

Chris Jones

Chicago Tribune

“[Piven] taught me with compassion and patience, not only the great art and craft of performance but also how to be a better human.” –

Joan Cusack

Alum / Actor