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Wondering if RIYT programs are right for you?  Hear what current and past students, apprentices, teen employees, and parents have to say about their RIYT experiences.

“One of the most unique opportunities I have ever had was the ability to create my own costume designs and have them made by a professional costumer. It was almost magical to see the vision I had in my mind, brought to life and on the stage.  Before I found RIYT, I never thought I could be a costumer because of my age. However, due to the trust and encouragement I was given to do as such, I feel confident to achieve any creative dream I have.”

Melissa Hayes


“RIYT helped me discover and flourish in my passion. It is not only a camp for children to come together and have fun in the theatre arts, but an educational experience unlike any other. From my experience as a student to mine as a young director and choreographer, I have never been more dedicated or attached to anything else- RIYT is a home.”

Rebecca Malachowski, Student: Bachelor of Music in Musical Theatre, Catholic University of America


“From the age of six, RIYT laid the foundation and played a significant role in developing the person I am today. I spent many of the years in the ensemble, where I made long-term friendships and enjoyed being part of a musical, while having lots of fun. Through those experiences, I watched, I listened, I participated, and I learned.

While in high school, RIYT gave me opportunities to intern in different positions, and eventually I was asked to direct and choreograph. The experience came full circle for me in that I was able to give back to the company and work with the children in hopes of creating those same great experiences I had as a child.”

Brooke Fennell


“Rhode Island Youth Theatre has offered me the amazing opportunity to grow from acting on the stage to working behind the scenes. This has impacted me because I know so many different aspects of theatre that I wouldn’t know if I did not have a job at RIYT.

The Young PlayRIYTs program has impacted me because I got to watch and be involved in the different stages of writing a show. Watching it come together through the years has amazed me. Rhode Island Youth Theatre also offers the opportunity to work with distinguished alumni and professionals. As a teen, this is so incredible because it gives me hope for future goals that I have, watching dreams come true for people who started with RIYT is very inspiring.”

Bryn Martin


“As a long-time actor and worker for Rhode Island Youth Theatre, I have grown greatly from when I was just a kid, to now a staff member. I have always had a love for working for this company, and I have seen many friends of mine who were actors at the time become interns and then staff members. Seeing these people, I wanted to be a part of the team when I grew up too. I really started becoming a helper at the age of 12 and 13, and at the time just worked on building the set and helping backstage.

Now that I have more experience with theater, I have been employed as an intern and now a musical director just this year. It is so amazing to see all these people I know become staff members and then to finally be one myself. I hope that I will be able to work more with this company for the next few years, because Rhode Island Youth Theatre gives great opportunities for young adults to learn about the fine arts and experience it firsthand.

Cooper Cardone


Signing up for my first RIYT program was the best decision I have ever made. Not only have I made my closest friends at the program, but I have learned more in a few weeks of show production rehearsals over the years than most theater kids learn in a lifetime. Given amazing opportunities like interning, and then going on to put on your own production, and working with brand new shows is what I absolutely love about this program.

Rhode Island Youth Theater has shown me how much I love to work with kids and it has paved the path for what I want to go into through adulthood. I have Rhode Island Youth Theater to thank for my confidence and connections into the real world of Broadway.”

Maisy Carvalho


“RIYT has contributed so much to my daughter’s life.  As a person with a disability (down syndrome), inclusion in peer groups can be difficult.  RIYT welcomed my daughter with open arms, right from the beginning.  Starting as a young actor/dancer on stage to now being part of the staff helping with the choreography of productions.  RIYT has enabled my daughter to have the same experiences as her peers, greatly contributing to her becoming a wonderful young adult.”

Julie (Last name withheld by request)


“Being a part of Rhode Island Youth Theatre has allowed me to not only grow, but thrive in an artistic environment that allows me to explore what I love. By joining this company, I was able to fully realize that theatre is a career I want to pursue and continue doing within my life. I will always be grateful for the opportunities I have received at Rhode Island Youth Theatre.”

Alexis Kane, Student, Hofstra University


“RIYT (or Fantasy Works as it was back in the day) shaped me into the person and performer I am today. I learned that theatre is a way to express your creative self and learn skills that cannot be taught in a classroom. I know I speak for other alumni when I say we still treasure the memories and relationships that we made and consider it the time of our lives!”

Annie Wilkens, Venue Associate, Boston Center for the Arts


“My very first experience with theatre was through RIYT and I can truly say that I would not be where I am today without this wonderful organization. Participating in productions throughout my younger years helped me develop my skills as an actor and better understand the process of creating theatre. As a teenager, I had the incredible opportunity to train as a director/choreographer, gaining production experience that most artists do not get until the college level. This time as a staff member made me realize how passionate I am about using theatre with youth as a tool to educate, build community, and generate empathy. It led me to continue pursuing theatre at the college level and ultimately helped me gain my current position. To this day, I still refer back to my experiences with RIYT to inform decisions that I make as a teaching artist and theatre director. No matter where I go or which opportunities I take on next, RIYT will always be the place where it all began.”

Julia Paolino, Education Apprentice, Tony-Award winning Hartford Stage Company


“Having just celebrated my 20th anniversary with the company, the Rhode Island Youth Theatre has helped define not only what I do, but who I am. Each summer in my youth, I was raised, educated, and shaped by the amazing Fantasy Works/RIYT staff, and it has been my pleasure as a young adult and adult to continue the tradition of teaching, training, fostering and supporting Rhode Island youth in their endeavors  as performers, technicians, and humans . The impact that Rhode Island Youth Theatre has had on me is one that I cannot understate– some of my happiest triumphs and most important lessons were learned in rehearsals, meetings, and performances with RIYT.  It is my distinct honor to be affiliated with a company that nurtures and incubates student talent in a positive and supportive setting, all the while holding it’s product to the highest of artistic standards. “

Patrick McCrossan


Permanent link to this article: http://riyt.org/about-us/testimonials/