Youth Arts

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!


Become a Classroom Champion Today!
Your support will help fund Youth Arts programming at Bryant Elementary and Buena Vista Horace Mann K-8 in SF's Mission District, Francisco Middle School in North Beach/Chinatown, and Life Academy in Oakland.


program overview

Youth Arts began in 1998 as a program of Word for Word Performing Arts Company. In addition to performing literature as theater for adults, Word for Word had begun producing a School and Library tour that reached roughly 20,000 students a year for over ten years. During that time, teachers and school administrators occasionally asked Word for Word to lead workshops that taught their methods to students and educators. Inspired by this interest, Word for Word formed a discrete program called Youth Arts to produce the School and Library Tour and facilitate workshops and residencies with students. In 2008, Youth Arts decided to streamline its resources to focus solely on workshops and residencies, working with fewer students, but giving all participants a deeper connection to the Word for Word style and process.

A video of a Youth Arts student performance of “The Healer” by Aimee Bender at Tamalpais High School:

Over the years, we at Youth Arts have developed relationships with schools, educators, and students of all ages and backgrounds.  From novice elementary students to advanced college-level actors, we are very proud of the broad range of students that have participated in Youth Arts’s unique workshops and residencies:


Livermore High School
Marin Academy
Marshall Elementary
Mill Valley Middle School
Montalvo Arts Center
Oakland Technical High School
Pleasanton Arts Festival
San Domenico
San Lorenzo High School
San Pedro Elementary
Santa Rosa Junior College
SF Chamber of Commerce Leadership Council
SF Community School
Stanford University
Tamalpais High
UC Berkeley
UC Santa Clara
Ulloa Elementary
Washington Elementary

826 Valencia
Alameda County Juvenile Justice
Aptos Middle School
Bayside Elementary
Berkeley High
Berkeley Public Library
Bolinas Stinson Middle School
Branson High School
Bret Harte Elementary
Bryant Elementary School
Buena Vista Horace Mann
Castilleja High
Century Club
Community Asian Theatre of the Sierra
East Bay Arts
Francisco Middle School
Gunn High School
Ida B. Wells Alternative High School
Leonard R. Flynn Elementary
Lick Wilmerding High