The mission of The Young People's Center for Creative Arts is to educate and enrich the lives of children in central Connecticut through exposure to the fine arts. We aim to administer programs of superior quality, maximum diversity, and the greatest possible accessibility. We strive to offer young people an affordable opportunity to develop theater and performance skills in an inclusive and supportive environment, to maintain a theatre that is a vital component of the public and cultural life of the region, and to create educational opportunities for students within the theatre's program which enliven and extend their school-based studies.
The Young People's Center for Creative Arts was established in 1982 in East Hampton, Connecticut by sixth-grade teacher Mike Mansfield. Mike saw a need for theatrical opportunities in the area as budget-cuts had eliminated many theater programs from the local schools. In 1982, YPCCA presented two shows, Oliver and Cool in the Furnace and had an enrollment of twenty-five students, all of which were from East Hampton. Three years later, YPCCA's summer camp production of Bye, Bye Birdie opened with a cast of over one-hundred students representing towns from throughout central Connecticut. In the years since, YPCCA has continued to flourish.
Students at the YPCCA summer camp participate in theater-skills classes as well as rehearsals for a full-length Broadway show. Classes range from Broadway Chorus and Hip-Hop Dance to Stop Motion Animation and Film Making, with the developed material presented at a cabaret style performance called The Event. Afternoons at camp are spent preparing a full-length Broadway musical. Past productions have included West Side Story, Jesus Christ Superstar, Rent and Shrek. All students are involved in the production. Many of the sets and costumes used in the production are created by the students themselves.
Rachel Mansfield (Director) is the theater Director at East Hampton High School. She has worked as a drama instructor in districts throughout the state including Hartford, Wilton, Portland and East Hampton. Rachel earned her Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts with an emphasis in Musical Theater at HARTT and her Master's in Education from Concordia University. She is currently the sixth grade Social Studies teacher at East Hampton Middle School.
Matthew Campisi (Music Director) is a graduate of The Hartt School with a Master's in Piano Performance. He works as the director of the Wallingford Chorale. Matt is also thee music teacher at Mercy High School, and also gives private piano and voice lessons in Durham, CT. His musical director credits include: Grease, Les Miserables - School Edition, Jesus Christ Superstar, Godspell, and West Side Story.
Jennifer Friday (Choreographer) has choreographed and directed for programs and schools throughout Connecticut, including Wilton High, Hartford Magnet Middle, West Hartford’s JCC, University of Hartford’s Summer Place Productions and of course, YPCCA. She was the proud recipient of the Mary Hunter Wolf award for Theater Educator of the Year. She is a reading teacher at the Academy of Aerospace and Engineering and was winner of Teacher of the Year for the district of Bloomfield and CREC’s Magnet Middle School.
Christopher Briggs (Acting) is currently teaching English and Drama at Middletown High School where he is also the head of the drama department. Chris is a graduate of the HARTT School where he was seen in such roles as Mr. Mushnik in Little Shop of Horrors, and Cinderella's Prince in Into the Woods. Chris most recently directed Rent and In the Heights at Middletown High School.
Kendra Dickinson (YPCCA Jr Director) is a certified K-12 teacher who brings years of theatrical and educational experience to YPCCA Jr. She has served as a Music Instructor for The Hartt School Community Division and as a Teaching Artist for Oddfellows Playhouse and Epoch Arts. Kendra is currently an ELA teacher at Middletown High School where she also serves as the choreographer for the school's musicals.
In the 1990's, YPCCA began to produce musicals during the school year. These productions were intended, after Mike Mansfield's passing in 1989, to raise money for what is now called the Mike & Adina Mansfield Memorial Scholarship. These shows have also created new opportunities for community involvement in YPCCA productions, as students of the camp combined forces with the general public in producing successful theatrical performances.
The Mike & Adina Mansfield Memorial Scholarship is given each year to a graduating East Hampton student who plans to pursue a degree in either theater or education. This scholarship has been awarded every year since 1990.
Adina Mansfield was a piano and voice teacher in East Hampton as well as the music director at the Middletown Baptist Church. Mike Mansfield was a sixth grade science and social studies teacher in the East Hampton public school system. They founded The Young People's Center for Creative Arts in 1982 in an effort to grow theater, music and arts education for the children of central Connecticut. In their respective roles of Artistic Director and Music Director, Mike and Adina started, developed and grew a program that carries on their original mission today.
The Mike & Adina Mansfield Memorial Scholarship is offered in loving memory of their contribution to their community, education, theater and the arts.
Each year, YPCCA strives to increase and improve the level
of arts and education outreach we offer our community.
While the majority of the operating expenses of our camps
are covered by tuition, scholarship funds are not.
As a nonprofit organization, we rely on the generosity of
people like you to make these efforts possible.
Please make a tax-deductible donation to
The Young People's Center For Creative Arts.