A coral and turquoise logo that reads Youth Works

BAX’s FREE annual YouthWorks festival invites young artists ages 8-18 to develop original work in dance, theater, performance, and more with creative support from professional artist coaches. 

BAX teaching artist working on choreography with a Youth Works participant.

Donna Costello coaching a YouthWorks participant.

2024 YouthWorks Showcase!

February 11, 2024 | BAX Theater

BAX teaching artist working on choreography with a Youth Works participant.

CONGRATULATIONS to BAX’s 2024 YOUTHWORKS ensemble, coaches, and directors for their inspiring world premiere performance in the BAX Theater Sunday, February 11!

BAX’s 2024 YouthWorks Showcase featured 10 original performance pieces and 19 young artists (ranging in ages from 7 to 17). Over the course of 6 weeks (from late-December through mid-February), these artists conceived, developed, rehearsed, directed and performed an incredible body of performance work in dance, theater, multimedia, poetry, and interdisciplinary performance. Some of the artists knew each other before the start of the program and others met and became collaborators at the first rehearsal in January!

We’ve been blown away by their creativity and the spirit of generosity and collaboration that has been present since day one. At an especially threatening and grieving time in our world, it was a balm to share space with these young artists each week who filled these studios with integrity, kindness, creativity, and joy.

Throughout the process, these artists were supported by professional artist coaches, who volunteer their time to support the development of these young artists and their art. The full list of coaches is below and we encourage you to learn about them and get to know their work! Some of our YouthWorks coaches this year are brand new to BAX, some have been coaches for many years, and some of our coaches are themselves alumni of YouthWorks, having participated in the program when they were kids. Quite simply, YouthWorks couldn’t exist without our generous and talented coaches!

– Ashley Thaxton-Stevenson & Kelindah Schuster
(BAX YouthWorks Co-Directors, youthworks@bax.org)

P.S. Stay tuned for more information to come about YouthWorks 2025!

Special Thanks to BAX’s Education Department Staff, Lucia Scheckner, Lily Ali-Oshatz, Lydia Funke, Julia Herrero, former YouthWorks Director & Consultant, Donna Costello, Lighting Designer & Technical Coordinator, Tyler Renfroe, Stage Manager, Aviya Hernstadt, and our incredible team of 2024 coaches!

2024 Coach Volunteers:

  • Jordan Bell
  • Leah Woodbridge
  • Eddie Prunoske
  • Ari Wes
  • Lily Ali-Oshatz
  • Brooke Rucker
  • Dana Jacks
  • Eleanor Crawford
  • Anna Vomacka

Portrait Photography Credit: Gabriel Johnson

ABOUT YOUTHWORKS 2024

YouthWorks has been a cornerstone of BAX Education for over 30 years. Mirroring BAX’s professional artist residencies, YouthWorks young artists (ages 8-18) have the opportunity to develop their artistic voices and practices while receiving artistic mentorship over a 6-8 week rehearsal period in BAX’s studios. YouthWorks artists also experience “behind-the-scenes” workshops in lighting, sound, and scenic design to deepen their understanding of the many professional roles in production as they transform their creative ideas into a staged performance for a public audience. This year’s program will be co-directed by Kelindah Schuster and Ashley Thaxton-Stevenson. 

YOUTHWORKS 2024 SCHEDULE

  • YouthWorks Program Orientation for Young Artists, Families, and Artist Coaches – Sunday, December 10
    • 1:30-3:30pm Coaches Info Session & Professional Development
    • 3:00-5:00pm Young Artist & Family Session
  • Coaching Sessions – Sundays, January 7, 14, 21, 28 from 2-5:30pm
    • 2:00-2:30pm Group Warm Up and Community Building
    • 2:30-3:30pm Rehearsal Block 1
    • 3:30-3:45pm Snack Break
    • 3:45-4:45pm Rehearsal Block 2
    • 4:45-5:30pm Group Sharing and Feedback Session
  • Tech Workshops – Sunday, February 4 from 2-5:30pm
  • Tech Rehearsals – Thursday, February 8 to Saturday February 10
  • Dress Rehearsal & Performance Day! – Sunday, February 11

Past YouthWorks performance pieces have included:

  • Modern dance solo exploring identity and creativity!
  • A laughter filled puppet show!  
  • Stand up comedy about growing up from kid to teen! 
  • Multimedia theater collaboration inspired by the world of superheroes! 
  • Theater of the Oppressed inspired play offering strategies and ways to be an upstander when conflicts come up at school! 
  • A short play about puppies! 
  • Performance art about conservation and climate change!
Three BAX students performing a piece they created on stage at BAX

Professional artist coach mentors Youthworks Artists

Hear what past YouthWorks participants, coaches, and parents have to say about the program!

From YouthWorks Participants:

“YouthWorks gives me a chance to be myself and to create something like nothing else.”

“I learned that I had a lot of stamina in creating things and an open mind.”

“The people are nice and fun!”

“We get to work and create performative art alongside other creatives fostering community and change.”

From YouthWorks Coaches:

“It is a pleasure to learn about the ways these young individuals think about art making and the world, and create new realities through their performance interventions.”

“I love watching the young artists work, create, and develop their pieces. It’s always a bit chaotic and wild during the working sessions which I love and then to see their performances and what they have created is the best reward. I also love the diversity of ages in the program and how the young artists support each other with their pieces.”

From Parents and Caregivers: 

“YouthWorks has given my son a community of artists who nurture and appreciate him.”

“YouthWorks gave my child a chance to feel like they were part of a creative community.”