jakub | April 8, 2023

AMERICAN THEATRE | TYA/USA Announces 2023 National Award Recipients

The 2023 National TYA/USA Award Recipients: Julia Flood, Brave Little Company, and Caitlyn McCain.

NEW YORK CITY: Theatre for Young Audiences/USA (​TYA/USA​) will present the ​2023 National TYA/USA Awards​ in three categories: Julia Flood will receive the ​Harold Oaks Award for Sustained Excellence in TYA​; ​Brave Little Company​ (Troy Scheid, artistic director) will receive the ​TYA Artistic Innovation Award​; and ​Caitlyn McCain ​will receive the ​TYA Community Impact Award​.

“We are thrilled to celebrate and honor exemplary work in TYA with our TYA/USA awards for the first time since 2019,” said TYA/USA executive director Sara Morgulis in a statement. “At a time when theatre is needed more than ever in our communities, these individuals and companies have showed resilience, creativity, and adaptability in the face of challenging circumstances. We look to them as leaders in our field and models of future creative work.”

The awards will be presented on May 12 as part of the 2023 TYA/USA National Festival & Conference. More than 200 artists, educators and administrators will convene at this year’s event, held at Childsplay and the Tempe Center for the Arts in Arizona, to experience theatre from around the nation, exchange current practice, and discuss the future of the TYA industry.

The ​National TYA/USA Awards​ honor excellence in the field of Theatre for Young Audiences and recipients are selected by a committee of peers from nominations made by TYA/USA members.

The Harold Oaks Award for Sustained Excellence in TYA honors the achievements of individual leaders and companies that have made a significant and lasting impact on the field of TYA. Julia Flood has spent 45 years working in the professional theatre, 25 of those dedicated exclusively to Theatre for Young Audiences. In her role as the artistic director of Metro Theater Company in St. Louis, Mo., Flood has continued to push TYA forward as an art form and as a community, championing equity and anti-racism throughout her career and recognizing the need to ensure that all young people feel reflected onstage and all artists have a place in TYA.

Recent work includes Spells of the Sea by Guinevere Govea with Anna Pickett, developed from the original podcast in collaboration with Megan Ann Rasmussen Productions, UT Austin, and Pegasus PlayLab at UCF, and produced this February, as part of MTC’s 50th Anniversary Season, The Girl Who Swallowed a Cactus by Eric Coble, developed as part of New Visions/New Voices 2018 at the Kennedy Center and toured in 2019, as well as Idris Goodwin’s Ghost, from the book by Jason Reynolds, co-commissioned with Nashville Children’s Theatre, produced by MTC in February/March 2020.

The ​TYA Artistic Innovation Award​ honors ​an individual or company that has demonstrated innovation—i.e., experimentation in content or in form—in recent artistic work in TYA. Brave Little Company’s work embodies their mission of theatre for everyone. From collaborating with 100 members of Houston’s refugee and immigrant communities in THE BIG “US” PROJECT, to combining Vietnamese and Asian folklore, immigrant experiences, and festive ghost stories in Paper Offerings, to their multi-state collaborative interactive video series initiative, Missing From the Museum, BLC is working with their communities in Houston to create relevant, engaging dual- and multi-language artistic practice that reflects the diversity of their audiences. BLC strives to create and produce work about, with, and for all of Houston’s kids and their grown-ups.

The ​TYA Community Impact Award honors ​an individual or company that has demonstrated community impact through a project or initiative related to TYA. Awardees utilize the power of TYA to significantly enrich an underserved community in creative and meaningful ways. Caitlyn McCain is an NYC-based actor, educator, voice professional, and applied theatre practitioner who has worked with a wide range of K-12 student and educator populations to engage them in social-emotional and social justice-based education and professional development through theatre programs and workshops. Over the past three years, Caitlyn has supported the development of multiple online educational resources for New York City Children’s Theatre, including “Creative Clubhouse” and an innovative virtual education resource for adults and children named Start the Conversation, designed to give grownups the tools to talk with young people about big topics. Videos cover topics such as race and racism, gender, immigration, emergency drills, and more. She is also the co-creator and co-host of The Trauma-Informed Toolkit for Educators. Thousands of families and educators have viewed these programs nationally.

Theatre for Young Audiences/USA (TYA/USA) is s a national service organization whose mission is to promote the power of professional theatre for young audiences through excellence, collaboration, and innovation across cultural and international boundaries. The organization provides advocacy and resources in order to strengthen and diversify the field of theatre for young audiences.

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