Youth Theater is for 3rd-9th graders in Jackson County. Youth are taught about nearly all aspects of a production, from auditioning, blocking, learning to show emotion on stage, applying stage makeup, and more. No experience is necessary! Youth Theater is a great way for youth to learn basic theater skills before trying high school or Main Stage productions.

Two Youth Theater productions are put on each season: One play in November (with auditions in September), and a musical in March (auditions in January). Each production does three performances. See below for info on this Season’s productions, and to check out our Frequently Asked Questions!

Fairy Tale One-Acts

November 22, 23, 24, 2019

Two one-act shows in one performance at Jackson’s First Presbyterian Church

Trio! is a fast-paced adventure through a trilogy of storybook favorites. Narrated by a triumvirate of ringmasters and giddily guided by a threesome of circus clowns, Trio! races through the three tales of The Three Bears, The Three Pigs, and the Three Billy Goats Gruff, with a twist!

In Bedtime Stories (As Told By Our Dad) (Who Messed Them Up), it’s Dad’s turn to tell his three rambunctious kids their bedtime stories, but when he gets fuzzy on the details, the classics get creative: a prince with a snoring problem spices up The Princess and The Pea, The Boy Who Cried Wolf cries dinosaur instead, and Rumpelstiltskin helps turn all that pesky gold into straw. You may think you know your fairy tales, but not the way Dad tells them.

Auditions are to be held in August/September 2019. Check out our Auditions Page or sign up for our email list to get Audition announcements throughout the year.

Learn more about Fairy Tale One-Acts…

No Strings Attached

March 2020, dates to be announced

Youth Theater Musical at The Middle School at Parkside’s Kiesel Auditorium

When teenager Carl wants to run away from home, he applies for a job with the mysterious Professor Pinecone and his traveling magical marionette puppet show. He quickly discovers, however, that the position comes with all kinds of strings attached. In this play-within-a-play, Carl becomes Pinocchio and improvises his way through the story, meeting some familiar characters — including a cricket with an attitude, the devious fox and cat and the memorable Blues Fairy — as well as some new ones. With the help of this eclectic cast, Carl stumbles upon life’s lessons as he’s forced to make important decisions.

Auditions are to be held in January 2020. Check out our Auditions Page or sign up for our email list to get Audition announcements throughout the year.

Learn more about No Strings Attached

CSJ Youth Theater is open to all Jackson County youth in third through ninth grades.

Unfortunately we do not have any programs for children younger than 3rd grade. You may want to try the Jackson School of the Arts!

There is no cost to participate in Youth Theater, however, first time participants will be required to purchase a makeup kit (around $20) that can be used in subsequent shows. We conduct a seminar in basic makeup techniques about a week before the show opens. There is usually a t-shirt produced for each show that is available for purchase (about $9) and DVDs of the show are also available (about $11) but these items are strictly optional. Joining Center Stage Jackson is not required, but you are most welcome to do so! Learn more about membership.

No experience is necessary! Our mission is to educate youths in theater.

We typically have a play in November and a musical in March. Auditions are usually in mid-September for the play and early January for the musical.

You can check the Center Stage Jackson website about a month before auditions for dates, times and locations. Auditions for the fall play are usually in mid-September. Auditions for the musical are typically in early January. You can also sign up for email notifications of upcoming auditions.

No preparation is necessary. For plays, you will be asked to read from the script. For musicals, you will be asked to read from the script and sing a few bars from a well known song (think “Happy Birthday” or “Jingle Bells”). The show will be cast based on these auditions.

For plays, the director is looking for youth with who are loud enough to be heard at the back of the audience without yelling and who can read with some feeling and/or emotion. For musicals, the above applies, as well as musical pitch, volume and phrasing. Of course, the director is also looking to fill specific roles and young people who “look the part” for a role may have an advantage.

No.  You need attend only one audition.

We are typically limited in the number of youth we can cast in a play by the number of roles available. Usually, this means that some young people who audition will not be cast. Do not be discouraged by this! There are many reasons why good, young actors and actresses don’t get cast. Try again and you will have a better chance of making the cut next time. If you did not make the cast list for the fall play, please consider auditioning for the spring musical, which can accommodate many more actors! Auditions for the spring musical are typically in January.

Musicals typically have a chorus and we try to cast everyone who auditions. Don’t be discouraged if you are “only” cast in the chorus. The chorus is an important part of any musical. Do a good job, “learn the ropes”, impress the director, and you will have an excellent chance at a speaking role next time!

Cast lists are sent out via email by the end of the weekend following the last audition date. Most  communication to the cast is done via email. If you auditioned but did not receive an email, we may not have been able to read your email address on your audition form! In this case, check the Center Stage Jackson website for cast announcements. 

Plays usually rehearse two days per week from 4:30pm until 6:00pm (either Monday and Wednesday or Tuesday and Thursday).
Musicals will usually rehearse three to four days per week from 4:30pm until 6:00pm.  The director determines which days rehearsals will be held.
Actors with larger roles will be scheduled for most rehearsals. Actors with smaller roles will typically have some days off early in the rehearsal process. As the performance dates approach, every actor will be required to attend every rehearsal. During production week (the week directly before the show opens), rehearsals are held every day from 6:00pm until roughly 9:00pm.

The director will usually work around minor conflicts and it is easier to do this earlier in the rehearsal schedule. The closer we get to the performance dates, the more important it is to not miss rehearsals. If you have a concern, speak with the director at or shortly after auditions.

If you are too sick to go to school, we typically don’t want you at rehearsal. Contact the director or stage manager as soon as you can if you know you will miss a rehearsal.

Currently the fall plays are rehearsed and performed at Jackson’s First Presbyterian Church, 743 W. Michigan Avenue in Jackson.  

Spring musicals are performed at the Middle School at Parkside, 2400 4th St, in Jackson. Rehearsals typically start out at Jackson’s First Presbyterian Church before moving the the Middle School at Parkside.

All auditions take place at Jackson’s First Presbyterian Church, 743 W. Michigan Ave. in Jackson.

Plays are usually performed for one weekend in late November. Performances are held Friday night at 7:00, Saturday night at 7:00 and a Sunday matinee at 2:00.  

Musicals are usually performed for one weekend in late March. Performances are held Friday night at 7:00, Saturday night at 7:00 and a Sunday matinee at 2:00.  

The CSJ Youth Theater typically has allowed videotaping when the Publishing House allows us to do so. Check with the director prior to attempting to videotape.

Though we would love to perform for free, we do have to charge admission in order to cover the costs of putting on a show.

Ticket Prices for Youth Theater Plays
$4 per adult/senior/student
$3 per child age 12 and under  

Ticket Prices for Youth Theater Musicals
$6 per adult/senior/student
$4 per child age 12 and under

Tickets can be purchased at the door only, with cash only (sorry, no credit cards).

Parents of cast members can get a parent pass that will allow them to attend all performances for the cost of one ticket. See your director or producer for details.

We do not offer any acting classes. Our philosophy is to learn by doing. The best way to learn about theater is to be in a show!

Contact the chairman of the Youth Theater Committee, Doug Meyers, at (517) 783-1468.

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