Through onsite performances, school tours, and performances in libraries and other partnering venues, our productions have been enjoyed by tens of thousands of audience members throughout Berks County and beyond.
All of the Productions of the Yocum Institute strive to help us all look at the seemingly every day and turns it into something magical through the transformative experience of live theater.
PrimaryStages Productions: Employing professional and up-and-coming professional actors, directors, musicians, scenic designers, and costumers from all over the region. These shows are hand selected with the goal to consistently provide a variety of excellent, quality performances that are accessible to the very young and entertaining to the entire family. From plays inspired by beloved children’s books, to Jazz Fest for Kids, to opera for children (in partnership with Berks Opera Workshop), to original works, these productions are the building blocks for all future theater goers and those that already love innovative and interesting theater.
Young Performer Series: See our young actors shine onstage! These performances are chosen and/ or developed for the education and experiential learning for our outstanding actors up to the age of 18. See them in everything from a final class project to our edgy plays for young adults.
Play-Me-A-Story Series: This 45-minute interactive story-time is filled with experiences designed for ages 3-8. Using themes and text from a picture book as a launch pad for inspiration we get the audience up to “play” with us through storytelling. Each experience is different and can include music, art projects, theater games and dress-up.
General Audition Sign-Ups & Callback Info click here
More Information for Performers Including Casting Breakdowns click here
Want to work with us behind the scenes? We are looking for enthusiastic, collaborative and talented people as set designers, builders, costume designers, stitchers, props design and stage managers. We are also looking to hiring new-to-Yocum directors, musical directors and choreographers! Volunteers for front of house/ ushers are always welcome. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your interest.
A Tremendous Thank You to our 2022-23 Season Sponsors
The Stabler Foundation
PrimaryStages Productions Presents:
JAZZ FEST FOR KIDS: The Boy at the Edge of Everything
Sat. March 25, 2023 at 11:00 AM & 3:00 PM
Sun. March 26, 2023 at 2:00 PM
Ticket link: Jazz Fest for Kids: The Boy at the Edge of Everything Tickets in West Lawn, PA, United States (ticketleap.com)
By Finegan Kruckemeyer
Beverly Houck, Director
Chris Heslop, Composer
Nathan Bellot & Chris Heslop, Soundscape
In the middle of his over-scheduled 12-and-a-bit-year-old life, Simon Ives dreams of a place where he can just stop and be. Meanwhile, at the farthest point in the universe, The Boy at the Edge of Everything lives by himself, lonely and bored. Simon dreams of escaping his stressful life, sending him on a time-traveling adventure that instills a renewed sense of home. Younger members of the audience will relate to Simon. Krukemeyer opens an honest discussion with parents about boundaries and the true anxieties experienced by their children. When Simon is rocketed into space (through an unlikely series of events involving ‘lots and lots of fireworks’), their worlds collide and neither will ever be the same.
See The Boy at the Edge of Everything with the family to open the possibility of a discussion about boundaries and the true anxieties experienced by our children. All while laughing together and feeling your heart warm.
Produced with Permission from the Author
Reading Musical Foundation
Select Saturdays at 10:00 AM
This 45-minute interactive story-time is filled with experiences designed for ages 3-8. Using themes and text from a picture book as a launch pad for inspiration we get the audience up to “play” with us through storytelling. Each experience is different and can include music, art projects, theater games and dress-up.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar, By Eric Carle
May 6, 2023
Reservation Link: Play Me A Story: The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Kate Hamill’s Little Women
Thurs. May 11, 2023 at 7:30 PM
Fri. May 12, 2023 at 7:30 PM
Sat. May 13, 2023 at 2:00 PM and 7:30 PM
Sun. May 14, 2023 at 3:00 PM
Ticket link: Kate Hamill’s Little Women Tickets in West Lawn, PA, United States (ticketleap.com)
By Kate Hamill
Andrea Hart, Director
Produced with Permission from Dramatists Play Service
The quintessential tale of the curious dreamers, the March sisters and how perfectly imperfectly even the best of families and sibling relationships can be.
Jo March isn’t your typical Victorian lady. She’s indecorous and headstrong, and one day she’s going to be a great American novelist. As she and her sisters grow up in the middle of the Civil War, they strive to be brave, intelligent, and imaginative young women. But as adulthood approaches, each sister must negotiate her private ambitions with society’s expectations. In a war-torn world defined by gender, class, and personal tragedy, Jo March gives us her greatest story: that of the March sisters, four dreamers destined to be imperfect little women.
Head Over Heels the Musical
in partnership with the LGBT Center of Greater Reading
June 8-11, 2023
Music & Lyrics The Go-Go’s
Conceived by, Original Book by Jeff Whitty
Adaptation by James Magruder
Beverly Houck, Director
Produced with Permission from Broadway Licensing
A hilarious, exuberant celebration of love, HEAD OVER HEELS follows the escapades of a royal family on an outrageous journey to save their beloved kingdom from extinction—only to discover the key to their realm’s survival lies within each of their own hearts.
Be Curious, Wonderland Adventures at Berks County Heritage Center
June 24 & 25, 2023
Using the fantasy world of Lewis Caroll’s Through the Looking Glass as inspiration, we are creating an immersive site-specific arts experience for the community. Free to all, this experience will be located on the 55 acre Berks Heritage Center using a variety of indoor and outdoor historic spaces. The Heritage Center is one of the Parks run by Berks County Parks and Recreation.
Attendees of the event are invited as observers and/ or as a first-person role of an inquisitive and curious explorer. As a first-person, the participant will follow a specific storyline that leads them to navigate the multi-space interactive installation looking for clues and performing specific tasks. Locations will have narrative, theatrical, hands-on visual arts & music activities, dance, and creative drama. Every attendee will have the opportunity to make their mark on a physical piece that will remain on public display for the summer of 2023.
Children’s Theater Festival
Opening Thursday, February 9th at the
Yocum Institute for Arts Education, Schumo Theater
4 days packed with inspiring live performances and events!
Thursday, FEBRUARY 9
6:00 PM Winnie the Pooh and other Sentimental Songs
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 10
8:00 PM Improv Night, Laughter Guaranteed
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 11
11:00 AM Go, Dog. Go! – Sensory Friendly Performance
6:00 PM Winnie the Pooh and other Sentimental Songs
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 12
11:00 AM Go, Dog. Go! – DOGGIE DANCE PARTY registration requested
2:00 PM Go, Dog. Go!
Tickets: Yocum Institute for Arts Education Tickets (ticketleap.com)
Tickets are on sale now, prices vary. Tickets can be purchased online at YocumInstitute.org, stop by the Yocum Institute front desk at 3000 Penn Ave, West Lawn or call 610.376.1576.
The Yocum Institute for Arts Education has served Berks County for nearly a century, pivoting programming to meet the needs of our community. This festival is a celebration of theater! Join us as we bring to our community a celebration of stories with 4 days packed with inspiring live performances and events!!
The Children’s Theater Festival of Berks County is supported by The Stabler Foundation, Arethusa Designs, Reading Musical Foundation (RMF), The Yocum Family Charitable Trust and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.
Go. Dog, Go!
Sat. February 4, 2023 at 10:00 AM and 1:00 PM
Sun. February 5, 2023 at 2:00 PM
Sat. February 11, 2023 at 11:00 AM, SENSORY FRIENDLY PERFORMANCE
Sun. February 12, 2023 at 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM
(after AM show) DOGGIE DANCE PARTY registration requested
45 minutes before the show Preshow craft in lobby
Run time of show is under 70 minutes, this includes a 10 minute intermission
Ticket link: Go. Dog, Go! Tickets in West Lawn, PA, United States (ticketleap.com)
School Performances available February 7-10, 2023
Tickets for Public Performance: $10.00-$18.00
Group Tickets: $8.50-$12.00
Joel Gori, Director
P.D. Eastman, author
Steven Dietz, playwright
Allison Gregory, playwright
Michael Koerner, composer
Produced with permission from Plays for New Audiences
P.D. Eastman’s classic children’s book comes to life on stage in an exploration of movement, color and space. The dogs delve into life with gusto, creating a visual spectacle for the audience to feast upon. They snorkel. They howl at the moon. They ride a ferris wheel. They sing and dance and climb trees. This is a rollicking free-for-all of chicanine-ery. A big and little musical world of doggy fun. Like a pop-up book that comes to life – and never stops.
Improv Night, Laughter Guaranteed
February 10, 2023 at 8:00 PM
Pay What You Will
A remount of selected 24 Hour Play Performances & Improv Night featuring Yocum’s High School Theater Ensembles and other special guests.
Ticket Link: Improv Night, Laughter Guaranteed Tickets in West Lawn, PA, United States (ticketleap.com)
Winnie the Pooh and other Sentimental Songs
February 9 & 11, 2023 at 6:00 PM
PJ night cabaret with audience participation and singalongs. Featuring classic songs from many genres and artists, this lovely event will have you singing along as you introduce some of your favorite songs and learn new ones your children know best.
Ticket link: Winnie the Pooh and other Sentimental Songs Tickets in West Lawn, PA, United States (ticketleap.com)
2022 - 2023
2021 - 2022
2020 - 2021
2019 - 2020
2018 - 2019
2017 - 2018
2016 - 2017
2015 - 2016
2014 - 2015
2013 – 2014
2012 – 2013
2011 – 2012
2010 – 2011
2009 – 2010
2008 – 2009
2007 - 2008
2006 – 2007
2005 – 2006
*denotes Teen Theater Ensemble Performances
Past Productions Supported by:
- Reading Musical Foundation
- Yocum Trust
- Rural Arts Programs
- Donald B and Dorthy L Stabler Foundation
- Pennsylvania Council on the Arts
- Diversity Alliance Endowment Fund of the Berks County Community Foundation
- Berks County Community Foundation