What Makes My Thursdays Special: A Glimpse into the NYU Steinhardt Youth Theatre Ensemble

By Lauren Durdach

As my final semester as a graduate student in the Colleges and Communities track quickly draws to a close, I feel incredibly blessed for a stellar journey here at NYU. Today I write to you about my most meaningful and rewarding experience of all… being the Company Manager of the NYU Steinhardt Youth Theatre Ensemble (YTE)!

Karoline and Yordy in Waiting for Godot

The YTE is comprised of 20 zany and mad-talented middle and high school students from across the five boroughs. Students audition for the esteemed program, and most often continue with the team until they graduate from high school. This year-long commitment begins in the fall with Joe Salvatore’s Shakespeare’s Theatre graduate course. The young actors are coached by a graduate student one-on-one to prepare a Shakespearean monologue. For many, this is their first introduction to theatre! Additionally, they participate in a series of ensemble and skill building workshops throughout the fall to prepare them for the work to come. Each spring, YTE members join Amy Cordileone’s Acting, Pedagogy, Technique and Performance graduate course every Thursday… true dedication!  Throughout the semester, students are directed by the graduates on contemporary scenes and monologues which culminate in a weekend’s worth of showcases for the public.

Amy Cordileone, our fearless leader, leads an end of year debrief

Our fabulous team this year embraced the very essence of ‘ensemble’. Collaboration between directors and actors was evidenced in the strong performances in our showcase at the end of April. Respect, lasting friendships, and positive attitudes exuded from not only the YTE members, but also the graduate students. Through our art making, these young actors discovered mentors, role-models, and a home away from home.  Over the course of the year this group continued to surprise me every day with their talents and kindness. As the Teaching Assistant for the class and the Company Manager for the YTE, I was constantly inspired by the relentless contribution of quality artistic work, spirit, and passion from both parties. Congrats to a fabulous year, everyone!

SPREAD THE WORD! Auditions for the ensemble will be held in late September early October for the 2013-2014 season. Know some fun and talented teenagers? Please encourage hard working students to apply! Email nyuyouthensemble@gmail.com for more information.

Ed Theatre Students and Youth Ensemble Memebers


The Program in Educational Theatre’s Youth Ensemble is comprised of young people aged 13-18 from the New York City area. They work with NYU students in Shakespeare’s Theatre I in fall and Theater: Pedagogy and Practice in spring with a culminating performance in April.