OCT's Young Professionals Company Presents DNA

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When a local teen is presumed dead, a group of their peers begins a dangerous spiral down into guilt and panic. What unfolds is a complex unraveling of reason and the chaos of group mentality.

The Young Professionals Company at Oregon Children's Theatre is excited to open its 2019-2020 season with DNA, a psychological thriller by British playwright Dennis Kelly. Comprised of 60 teenagers ages 14-18, the YP shows each season are selected by a committee, then are produced and performed by the teen company members.

Dani Baldwin, Artistic Director of the Young Professionals Company, was excited by the YPs' choice to produce DNA as the first show of their season. "The YPs are always looking for material that will help them grow as artists. They chose DNA because its characters are complex and the work is challenging, and they are inspired by the opportunity it presents." In addition to the acting challenges, the teens will also be working with dialect coach Val Landrum to use authentic accents as indicated in the script.

The cast features Josh Bransford as Danny, Kieran Gettel-Gilmartin as John Tate, Sylvia Grosvold as Lea, Tessa Lignore as Addie, London Mahaley as Mark, Sam Majors as Brian, Makenna Markman as Cathy, Claire Voillequé as Reggie, Jasper Warhus as Phil, and Aleena Yee as Jan.

The Young Professionals, in addition to performing in their selections, work behind the scenes as house managers, stage managers, and apprentice designers. The success of these positions is immediately apparent: several members of the creative team for DNA were themselves former members of the YP Company. "As a YP, these teens not only learn the skills they need to be professional performers, but also learn valuable backstage skills to help broaden their interests and experience in theater. The fact that many of our YPs work as theatrical professionals-both onstage and off-is a true testament to the success of this company," Baldwin explains.

The creative team includes: YP Alumni Zoë Rudman (Director), Avi Sheehan (Lighting Designer) Richard Moore (Sound Designer), YP Alumni Sydney Dufka (Costume Designer), Sophie Kristensen (Set & Props Designer), YP Alumni Erin MacGillivray (Production Coordinator), Val Landrum (Dialect Coach), Irie Page (YP Directing Apprentice), Hailey Hoffer (YP Stage Manager), Kate Daley (YP House Manager), and Grace Riley (YP Costume Apprentice), Bella Bravo (YP Sound Design Apprentice).

This thought-provoking show opens on October 25 at the Young Professionals Studio Theater and runs weekends through November 10.

The Young Professionals Company is comprised of dedicated theater students ages 14-18 who have been selected to participate in a year-long mentoring program where they receive advanced training through exposure to a wide range of college-level workshops and professional development. Each season, the company presents three shows and other public events. The Young Professionals Company is dedicated to building a supportive community of theater peers, providing them with resources, information, and professional on-the-job experience.

Founded in 1988, Oregon Children's Theatre has served well over two million children, teachers, and families. Its mission is to create exceptional theater experiences that transform lives. OCT is Oregon's largest non-profit professional children's theater company and a resident company of Portland'5 Centers for the Arts. Performances are held weekdays for school audiences and on weekends for family audiences. OCT serves more than 120,000 children of all ages each year. OCT offers numerous school services including study guides, teacher professional development opportunities, in-school workshops, and an extensive outreach program. In partnership with Kaiser Permanente, the Educational Theatre Program provides free touring productions that promote healthy living. OCT's year-round Acting Academy offers theater classes for children ages 3-18 and Young Professionals Company.

Funding for Oregon Children's Theatre's 2019-2020 season is provided in part by the Shubert Foundation, the Regional Arts & Culture Council, and TriMet. Oregon Children's Theatre receives support from the Oregon Arts Commission, a state agency funded by the State of Oregon and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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