Youth Arts teaching artists lead students in transforming fiction or poetry into staged performances in Word for Word style. By helping youth become better listeners, speakers, and readers, Youth Arts aims to instill a love of language and reading, enhance performance skills, and bolster confidence and self esteem in the classroom and beyond

Through the intersection of language arts and theater, Youth Arts empowers Bay Area students to read, adapt, and perform classical and contemporary texts relevant to their lives. Students work closely with professional teaching artists to bring stories from the page to the stage using the Word for Word signature performance style, while gaining literacy, team-building, and social-emotional skills.

From ELL students who benefit from hands-on learning experiences to high-level English speakers who crave opportunities to analyze texts in new ways, Youth Arts instills a love of reading, providing a fun, curriculum-based entry point for students to access language, and bolsters confidence in the classroom and beyond.


The Youth Arts curriculum is in line with California Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts & Literacy and is tailored to match the needs of each school and student population. The professional Teaching Artists, many of whom are bilingual or multilingual, have extensive experience working with students of differing physical and mental abilities, ethnicities, and socioeconomic backgrounds. The TAs focus on creating camaraderie amongst diverse student groups and cultivating safe spaces for creative collaboration.

Youth Arts partner schools also have the opportunity to schedule class or school field trips to Z Space to see professional Word for Word productions, connecting their in-class work to what they see onstage. In both Youth Arts classes and professional productions, Word for Word seeks to connect audiences with authors. Word for Word often partners with local authors who can attend performances and lead pre- or post-show talkbacks. Youth and adults connect with texts on a deeper level when they see a story come to life onstage and meet its author.

As of 2017, Youth Arts has long term residencies at Bryant Elementary School (since 2008), Francisco Middle School (since 2011), and Mill Valley Middle School. Other frequent Youth Arts partners include: Buena Vista Horace Mann K-8 Community School, Jewish Community High School, Life Academy of Health and Bioscience, Piedmont School, and St. Paul's School.

If you are interested in bringing Youth Arts to your school or would like more information about the Youth Arts program contact: Youth Arts Coordinator, Amy Prosser at