Yocum Institute’s PrimaryStages Productions constantly looks at the seemingly every day and turns it into something magical through the transformative experience of live theater.
Our goal is 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 for kids, to holiday-inspired shows, to opera for children (in partnership with Berks Opera Workshop), our productions employ professional and up-and-coming professional actors, directors, musicians, scenic designers, and costumers from all over the region.
Through school tours, onsite performances, and performances in libraries and other partnering venues, PrimaryStages Productions have been enjoyed by tens of thousands of audience members throughout Berks County and beyond.
Audition Sign-Ups & Information:
Check back for updates.
Special thanks to our 2021-22 Season Sponsors
The Stabler Foundation
Young Performers Series: Choose Your Own Oz
May 27, 2022 7:00 pm
May 28, 2022 2:00 pm
PAY WHAT YOU WILL – SUGGESTED TICKET PRICE: $10
By Tommy Jamerson
Produced with Permission: YouthPlays
The Wizard of Oz meets Choose Your Own Adventure in this fresh and fast-paced retelling of the L. Frank Baum classic in which the audience plays playwright and gets the chance to change everything from Dorothy’s footwear (silver slippers or ruby red…clown shoes?) to Toto’s species (lion, tiger or octopus?—oh my!) to the Witch’s flying footmen. A delight for children of all ages, Choose Your Own Oz reminds us all that at the end of the day, there really is no place like home. Yocum’s Junior Ensemble will be sure to delight the audience in this fun and silly show!
Love and Information
June 10, 2022 7:00 pm
June 11, 2022 7:00 pm
by Caryl Churchill
Produced with Permission: Concord Theatricals
How does information impact our relationships and attitudes? We all learned a lot about this intersection since 2020. Snippets of life are expressed onstage in this thoughtful and often hilarious play… Someone sneezes. Someone can’t get a signal. Someone shares a secret. Someone won’t answer the door. Someone put an elephant on the stairs. Someone’s not ready to talk. Someone is her brother’s mother. Someone hates irrational numbers. Someone told the police. Someone got a message from the traffic light. Someone’s never felt like this before. In this fast-moving kaleidoscope, more than a hundred characters try to make sense of what they know.
The Mad Tea Party at Gring’s Mill
June 25, 2022 10:00 am
June 25, 2022 6:00 pm
Free to attend.
By Brian D. Taylor
Pioneer Drama Service
Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland characters are brought them together in an original story with the same wit and whimsy as the classic tales. Mad Hatter, Dormouse, and March Hare meet for a tea party to honor Time, who has forgiven the Hatter and set time right once again. When the Jabberwock comes and wreaks havoc, the tea party guests decide that something must be done. Time suggests they travel back through time to the moment when the Jabberwock arrives so that they might catch him. But White Rabbit’s watch is fast, Hatter’s is slow, and they just can’t catch the Jabberwock. Finally, Hare realizes they must fix the nick in Time… After all, a stitch in Time saves nine!
Young Performers Series: Rainbow Fish: Library Tour
July 2022 – Dates and times vary. Check your local library.
Adapted by Austin Zumbro
Adapted from the book by Marcus Pfister, translated into English by J. Alison James, with illustrations by Marcus Pfister.
Produced with Permission from Pioneer Drama Service
Based on The Rainbow Fish, with its wonderful message of friendship and belonging. With shiny, multi-colored scales, Rainbow Fish is the most beautiful fish in all of the ocean, and the only one of their kind. But when Rainbow Fish refuses to share his vibrant, shimmering scales, the whole ocean seems to turn against the vain creature. Unhappy that no one adores him anymore, the Rainbow Fish seeks out the wise Octopus, who helps him learn that it’s far better to be admired for being kind than for being beautiful.
Young Performers Series: Monty Python’s Spamalot young@part
July 29 at 7:00 pm
July 30 at 3:00 pm & 7:00 pm
July 31 at 2:00 pm
By Eric Idle & John Du Prez
Lovingly ripped off from the classic film comedy Monty Python and the Holy Grail, this G rated adaptation of MONTY PYTHON’S SPAMALOT retells the legend of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. The 2005 Broadway production won three Tony® Awards, including Best Musical, and was followed by two successful West End runs. The outrageous, uproarious, and gloriously entertaining story of King Arthur and the Lady of the Lake will delight casts and audiences as they search for the Holy Grail and “always look on the bright side of life.”
Young Performers Series: Don’t Blame Me, I’m Just the Playwright
August 12, 2022 5:30pm
By Carrie McWethy
Ticket Link: COMING SOON
Two playwrights are in the midst of polishing their script before their masterpiece starts its run on Broadway. But when their whizkid producer brings in a team of hack writers to punch up their dialogue with jokes, a corporate sponsor to introduce product placement, and a diva actress with her own baggage…can they hold on to their vision? Can the touching drama they set out to write survive all this meddling? If not, don’t blame them!
Family Fall Fest: Berks County Folklore & Stories at Berks County Heritage Center
Free to attend.
New works based on our county’s folklore and legends are performed by Yocum’s Theater Ensembles as part of Berks County Parks Family Fall Fest. the Fall Fest includes juggling workshops, pumpkin painting, music and more.
Poe’s Unhappy Hour
School Performances offered October 24 – 28th
Public performance October 28 at 7:00 PM
An original work of historical fiction that animates the meeting of Edgar Alan Poe and Rufus Griswold. It includes poetry and short stories by both Poe and his contemporaries.
The Napping House, by Audrey Wood
Ticket Link: COMING SOON
Caps for Sale, by Esphyr Slobodkina
Ticket Link: COMING SOON
The Very Hungry Caterpillar, By Eric Carle
Ticket Link: COMING SOON
45-minute interactive experiences designed for ages 3-8 that use a picture book as the inspiration for take-home art projects, theater games, dress-up and storytelling.
24 Hour Play Festival
October 15 & 16, 2022
Students from across Berks County are invited to collaborate on a project that sparks dialogue, abstract thinking, and fosters support of each other as human beings.
Young Performers Series: Kick Line & Jazz Hands: Musical Theater Vignettes
The curiosity of our students and their thirst for knowledge has inspired this evening of fun. In the journey of classic musical theater, they’ve become a bit obsessed with jazz hands and kick lines, this will showcase the gamut of musical theater including a new piece created by the cast.
A Christmas Story
November/ December 2022
By Philip Grecian
Humorist Jean Shepherd’s memoir of growing up in the midwest in the 1940s follows 9-year-old Ralphie Parker in his quest to get a genuine Red Ryder BB gun under the tree for Christmas. Ralphie pleads his case before his mother, his teacher and even Santa Claus himself at Higbee’s Department Store. The consistent response: “You’ll shoot your eye out!” All the elements from the beloved motion picture are here, including the family’s temperamental exploding furnace; Scut Farkas, the school bully; the boys’ experiment with a wet tongue on a cold lamppost; the Little Orphan Annie decoder pin; Ralphie’s father winning a lamp shaped like a woman’s leg in a net stocking; Ralphie’s fantasy scenarios and more. A Christmas Story is destined to become a theatrical holiday perennial.
Curious George and the Golden Meatball TYA Musical
February 3-12, 2023
Music by John Kavanaugh
Book & Lyrics by Jeremy Desmon
Music Theater International
All You-Can-Eat Meatball Day came just once a year. George had been waiting all month for that day, a day almost bigger than his birthday! On Meatball Day, George helped his friend, Chef Pisghetti, cook some delicious meatballs and serve them to the hungry crowd. But this year, the crowd had vanished! Something was keeping people away… something pretty big. And that something was Phinneas T. Lightspeed and his speedy Meatballs-o-Matic machine. In despair, Chef Pisghetti vows to cook no more. Determined to help his friend, George goes on a mission to enter the Chef’s meatballs in the world-famous Golden Meatball Contest in Rome.
Improv Night, Laughter Guaranteed
February 10, 2023
A remount of selected 24 Hour Play Performances & Improv Night featuring Yocum’s Theater Ensembles and other special guests.
Winnie the Pooh and other Sentimental Songs
February 9 & 11, 2023
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.
The Boy at the Edge of Everything
March 23-26, 2023
By Finegan Kruckemeyer
Beverly Houck, Director
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. 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.
By Kate Hamill
Dramatists Play Service
Andrea Hart, Director
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
June 1-4, 2023
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
Late June 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.
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