The Young Artists Repertory Theater Co. will celebrate its 10th anniversary this weekend with a production of the musical Annie.
It’s a day company director John Greene was fairly certain he would never see.
“When I started this thing I gave it, gave myself, five years,” he said. “That’s the way of these things. Theater companies come and go. The children come and go.”
Built on a foundation of small but challenging plays and the occasional lavish musical, YART found a following and a home.
The company spent its early years hopping between venues and rehearsal spaces and surviving on a shoestring budget. Five years ago, when it was offered the use of Augusta Preparatory Day School’s Hull Auditorium, the company found the essential element for its continued survival: a home.
Greene said that from the inside, it’s often difficult to see the affect of exposing his casts to theater. The labor of mounting a show often overshadows the lessons, and the real rewards of a production might remain unrealized for weeks or even years.
“Every now and then it will come back in unexpected ways,” he said. “Someone will post something on Facebook. An offhand comment will be made. It’s those moments when I realize that yes, we have made an impression.”
The YART production of Annie, Green said, will probably be the last large-scale production the company will stage for some time. He said after the anniversary he would like to focus on more intimate dramatic material.
“I want to do the shows that these kids might not be able to do in school,” he said. “Stuff that’s a little more edgy.”
He said the productions may be smaller, but the goals are the same.
“It has always been about giving back those things that I got out of theater. It has kept me sane, and being able to teach that, to share that feeling, has been important.”