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What is TYA at Drama Learning Center?
Teaching Young Artists (TYA) is Drama Learning Center’s Professional Training Program. Available by audition only, TYA allows company members to work as an ensemble in a professional theatre environment as they learn about all aspects of theatrical work. Regionally recognized and critically acclaimed, Senior Company produces two professional contemporary musicals each season in January and June. Junior Company produces one full scale musical each season, as well as a skills-based session with a focus on audition prep.  Students who display growth in both sessions of Junior Company may be invited to participate in a spring workshop, during which they will be included in select scenes of Senior Company’s June production.

Who can participate in TYA?
TYA Senior Company is designed for upper-level theatre students who wish to improve both their audition and performance technique and are ready to work at a professional pace. Promising students who need additional training are placed into TYA Junior Company in order to focus solely on improving audition technique, repertoire development, musical skills, and stage presence.

What are the benefits of the TYA program?
TYA members study contemporary musical theatre in a professional environment.  Senior Company has a strong history of producing area premieres.  The artistic team is looking for TYA members who will be committed to our ensemble theatre philosophy- that each member’s contribution to the theatre making process is equally important. To that end we frequently have team building events to foster ensemble comradery.  With small class and cast sizes, each company member receives individualized instruction. The designers who work with TYA are industry professionals, who are committed to the highest quality in production work.

In addition, TYA does not simply focus on the end product of a final performance.  Rather, TYA is committed to the training of well-rounded theatre artists, not just strong performers. Outside of rehearsal hours, classwork includes a mandatory Jury Day once a semester to hone audition technique and repertoire development, in addition to assigned dramaturgical projects in order to provide students with a diverse knowledge of all aspects of theatre. Company members must complete auditions each season, during which time they will have an opportunity to discuss their progress and growth with the artistic team.

Alums of the TYA program are working professionally in theatre and/or studying at some of the top collegiate musical theatre programs in the country.  Alums who are not pursuing theatre professionally are typically still involved with theatre in some capacity.

How often are rehearsals?
For both Senior and Junior Company, there is at least one full company rehearsal each week throughout the rehearsal process.  The remainder of the rehearsal schedule is determined by cast availability and submitted conflicts. A full rehearsal schedule will be distributed within the first month of the production process.  Please see sample rehearsal structure below. There is an expectation that students will also spend time at home reviewing all material.

How are rehearsals spent?
For full productions, students will spend time learning their ensemble music, with the expectation that it is memorized as quickly as possible. Once all music has been taught and polished, students will begin staging, choreography, and character development, in addition to completing dramaturgical projects at the discretion of the director. A typical TYA rehearsal includes a brief vocal and physical warmup, a cast-wide discussion of various elements of the show, and individualized direction from both the Musical and Artistic Directors.

What happens if I miss a rehearsal?
Rehearsal can only be missed in the event of a previously scheduled conflict, illness, or emergency.  If a rehearsal is missed, students are expected to pick up any materials that were distributed prior to their next scheduled rehearsal, as well as reach out to other cast members or stage manager to determine how to make up missed work.

Why is there a tuition for TYA?
TYA is structured similarly to a college prep course.  Frequently Senior Company members receive over 100 hours of instruction per semester from theatre professionals.  Tuition and ticket revenue is put toward professional instruction, designer fees, royalties, show materials, facility usage, and more.

Are scholarships available for tuition?
Yes, TYA offers both need-based and talent-based scholarships – interested candidates should email for more information.

Can I do TYA and my school’s productions?
Yes! Most of our students participate in both of their school’s performances and TYA performances, as they rarely directly conflict with each other. TYA training allows students to improve their performance technique on any stage, and we are willing to accommodate pre-approved rehearsal conflicts if they are provided at the beginning of the rehearsal process.

Who is the TYA Artistic Team?
Stephanie Lynn Williams (Artistic Director, Executive Producer, Senior Company Director)
Tiffany Underwood Holmes (Resident Music Director, Senior Company Music Director)
Megan Elizabeth Henderson (Artistic Associate, Junior Company Director)
Dustin Merrell (Artistic Associate, Music Director)
Lynn Joslin (Artistic Associate, Resident Lighting Designer)


Rehearsal Period






Month 1

1-2 /week

ensemble music rehearsal, scattered music rehearsals for solos

Month 2


ensemble music/staging rehearsal; scattered calls for staging/choreography

Month 3



Month 4

Plus tech

Fixes, cleans, run throughs
(No conflicts for tech week or the week prior)

*Junior Company Winter/Spring audition prep class frequently meets once a week for 8 sessions, with 2 dress rehearsals prior to the final showcase.

“I can’t say enough how blown away I was by the incredible talent. It’s been a great experience for my daughter. Thank you! She will miss the cast for sure!”

– Margaret O.

“Even though my daughter was one of the youngest she said she always felt included by the older kids who looked out for them. This was a hugely ambitious project and it ended up being amazing! Thank you for taking this on and making such a caring environment for all the kids! This is why I love theatre, and now my daughter does too!”

– Alexia C.

“This was an awesome experience!! The older kids were great with my daughter who was one of the youngest in the cast. I truly appreciate the supportive and enriching environment that DLC created for this show.”

– Beth H.

“Not only was the show impressive, the experience was wonderful. My daughter and friends sobbed after the last performance. They’ve never been as close as a cast and they are already committed to return next summer.”

– Andrea D.

“You can’t tell from this distance but many of the kids, even though they’d never met before, were crying as they took their final bows. In 4 short weeks, you created a family.”

– Andrea D.

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