Thursday, January 06, 2005

Don't close YPT - Hannah Malin

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing to you because I learned that you are planning to close the theater program, YPT, at the Kirk Community Center. We joined YPT in the fall of 2004, in their production of Peter Pan Jr. We found an energetic and passionate director in Carole Ferris-Greer and an amazing staff of Donna Becker and a number of young people. All worked very hard to teach, direct, and help the children put up a magnificent show to the delight and appreciation of an audience in sold out performances.
The experience my children had during the two months of rehearsals and shows was beyond their wildest dreams. They were treated with respect and professionalism by the director and her staff. They learned a lot and they felt that they were treated like professional actors, with the utmost seriousness, both in what the director and the staff invested in them and in what they expected from them.
I know that this feeling was common to all the children. I could see it in the great enthusiasm that prevailed in the rehearsal halls and in the performances. I also witnessed a high level of parent participation. Everyone worked extremely hard to put up a colorful and excellent show. Everyone took the show and its success to heart -- staff, children, and parents alike. To put an end to a community effort like this is a grave mistake.
We joined the theater after we heard from several parents what a wonderful place YPT is, how much it enriches the children and their parents, and how much it gives back to the community at large. We joined and we found that everything we heard was true.
YPT is the only city sponsored musical theater for children. A wonderful city like San Jose cannot afford to be without a children’s theater. The arts, and especially the performing arts, are one of the building blocks of society. If the children of San Jose will have to travel to other cities to fulfill their needs to participate in the performing arts, or have to give it up completely, they will not feel loyalty to the city. Keeping YPT alive is investing in the city’s future, not only the children’s. To close a successful theater is to close a lifeline of a city. The children and their parents will feel betrayed and won’t feel commitment to their city. You should want to keep the best and the brightest of your children in the city, not have them travel to other cities to find something comparable to YPT.
I know that this is not the first time that you have threatened to close YPT, and I also know that this time the threat is very real. A theater cannot operate under the constant and continuous threats of being shut down. I know that I as well as many other parents and children will not give up on the theater without a fight. I suggest we get together and find a way where the theater can remain open to the benefit of the children and the city.

Yours Respectfully,

Hanna Malin


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