In a small church turned theater on Madison’s West side an unusual theater company presents some of Western literature’s greatest works. The Young Shakespeare Players puts on several of the Bard’s plays every year with casts made up entirely of youth aged seven to eighteen.
“Kids can do way, way more than the culture gives them credit for doing,” says YSP Founder and Co-Artistic Director Richard DiPrima. DiPrima steeps his young casts in the culture of Elizabethan England ensuring that the children not only know their lines, but understand them.
The play’s the thing for these young players and, according to DiPrima, the achievement of another successful production allows “our young people to prove something magnificent to themselves.”
As Leila Fletcher, a YSP veteran and thirteen year old cast as the thirteen year old Juliet in “Romeo and Juliet”, puts it, “Richard usually says at the start of a production that ‘You’re going to do something that the world thinks is impossible.’ But every time we’re able to pull it off.”