“PYT Takes Strides to Stomp Out Bullying”

Jan 19th, 2012Press Release from Pennsylvania Youth Theatre

Contact: Kelly-Anne Rohrbach

Development Associate

Pennsylvania Youth Theatre

25 W. Third St., Bethlehem, PA




“PYT Takes Strides to Stomp Out Bullying”

Through a AATE Youth Summit and Internal Initiatives, Gary Minyard Looks to a Better Future.


How can a child grow and thrive in an environment of fear and judgment? The answer may seem like a gimme – “Of course, they can’t,” – but educators are realizing the quandary is more complex than previously thought.


As the topic of bullying becomes a hotbed across the nation, PYT’s Artistic Director Gary Minyard, along with PYT staff, is looking to make sure the Bethlehem youth organization is what Minyard dubs a “Safe Place.”


“Kids can come here with no fear, knowing that they will be accepted and bullying of any kind is not tolerated,” he said. “We [teachers] have training to identify moments of bullying, but I’m hoping we can have other places in the area become “Safe Places” that utilize those same tools for their kids.”


He hopes that this initiative will locally supplement national campaigns, such as the “It Gets Better Project.” (www.itgetsbetter.org)


PYT also is working on drafting its own anti-bullying proclamation, which students will sign as part of their admission into any of PYT’s myriad programs. It’s a move the students will undoubtedly support. Students such as Ben Clearie.


Clearie, 11, recently appeared on The Rosie Show, shown on Oprah’s OWN Network, to discuss his confrontations with bullies and how the arts – particularly, costuming – has helped him cope.
Minyard, in his capacity as Communications Director of Public Relations for the American Alliance for Theatre & Education, also will be helping lead the AATE’s “Advancing Youth Theatre: 2012 Summit Youth Summit” in Bethesda, Md., January 7-9. The Summit will center its discussions around bullying – how to quash it as well as how to empower and unburden those who have already fallen victim to it. The educators will also examine plays whose central theme is bullying.


Plays are a fantastic tool, Minyard notes. It allows young actors (and their young audiences) to explore those issues without being forced to expose uncomfortable parts of their own lives.


“I’m hoping that what I learn while I’m there are things that we’ll be able to implement here at PYT, and that we will continue to be a leader in providing young people with skills and tools, not just to perform but also to handle life’s struggles.”




To request high-resolution production photos, information on this or any other PYT shows or events or to schedule an interview with Artistic Director Gary Minyard or another PYT staff member, contact Kelly-Anne Rohrbach at 610-332-1402 or gro.typ321null@tnempoleved. For more information about PYT visit www.123pyt.org.



At Pennsylvania Youth Theatre, we envision that devoted world citizens are created out of a Community where the Performing Arts are treasured in every child’s educational, social and creative growth.


About Gary Minyard: Gary Minyard holds an MFA in Theatre for Youth and Directing from Arizona State University.  He is an award-winning fight and movement director from Dallas, and studied at the University of Houston and the L’Ecole Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq in Paris. Gary also served as a master teaching artist with Young Audiences of America for seven years while living in Dallas. Gary sits on the board for the American Alliance for Theatre and Education (AATE) and the Eastern Pennsylvania Arts Alliance (EPAA), and is a member of Theatre Communications Group (TCG), The Society of American Fight Directors (SAFD), and Theatre For Young Audiences- USA (TYA-USA).  He has also toured as an actor, director, and teaching artist through 48 of our 50 states (plus one territory!) with many professional theatre companies.


About The American Alliance for Theatre and Education: According to their web site, “AATE is the best and warmest networking organization for theatre artists and educators. We aim to provide opportunities for idea exchange, leadership, creativity, artistry, mentorship, recognition, advocacy and more to those with a vested interest in the field of theatre and education. Whether you are a theatre teacher, youth theatre director, playwright, education director for a theatre, arts integration specialist, theatre scholar, teaching artist, theatre advocate or an individual who finds theatre arts essential in education we are here to provide services and programming that help you advance our field.” www.aate.com

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