What makes us unique

Our theater group open to both special and general education students and young adults, builds camaraderie and support among the actors, volunteers, parents and special education community.

The group focuses on inclusion and emphasizes everyone's abilities rather than their disabilities. The script is adapted to the needs of the group and individuals. For instance, actors who are nonverbal, visually or hearing impaired or have mobility issues have the opportunity to be a star. Each actor brings his or her unique and special talents to the role.

Rather than holding auditions, the actors are asked to give their top three role choices, if they want lines or want to dance in one of the exciting musical numbers - giving each actor the opportunity to shine on stage in a role they’ll embrace and enjoy.

Enthusiasm is one of the most powerful engines of success. When you do a thing, do it with all your might. Put your whole soul into it. Stamp it with your own personality. Be active, be energetic and faithful, and you will accomplish your object. Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

HOW IT ALL STARTED

Youth Drama For All’s roots started in Sue Voiss’s living room in 2007.  Sue’s daughter Tessa hesitated to join her school's drama group in sixth grade because her friend, who had a physical disability, was worried about falling off the stage. This became the catalyst for a new approach to theater for dozens of Los Altos and Mountain View students who loved performing and expressing themselves artistically, but never did because of their disabilities.

Sue rewrote a familiar script for the two girls to perform at home. During rehearsals, several classmates and other children joined—including those of fellow parent, Stacy Rademacher.

The home-run show took on a life of its own, and Stacy and other moms stepped up and helped stage a live performance with props, music and curtains erected from PVC pipe. A total of 10 actors, 8 of whom were special needs, performed for an audience of 21 in the Voiss’s living room.

The following year, Sue and Stacy teamed up and held rehearsals and the performance at a local elementary school. They both quickly fit in the roles of  Director and Producer and became fast friends. Their passion and commitment has kept the program running for nine years - and it’s still going strong.

With its cast of 45+ actors, Youth Drama For All has outgrown elementary school multi rooms and now holds its performances at Cubberley Theatre in Palo Alto. 

Sue and Stacy’s passion for the group, xxx