Old Town Playhouse Young Company

About The OTP Young Company

In 1990, OTP volunteer Keli Macintosh was frustrated with the level of theatrical opportunities for children in the Grand Traverse region. Macintosh and Phil Murphy, along with Jim-Bob and Lucy Stephenson founded Traverse City Children’s Theatre (TCCT) in the fall of 1991. Classroom and rehearsal space was initially provided by NMC and the Stephensons managed the first class activities with a year-long program. Initially, TCCT hoped to form a separate non-profit organization of its own, but knowing that they would need operating support in the meantime, Macintosh and Murphy approached Old Town Playhouse for assistance. Looking to add an educational arm of its own, Old Town welcomed the opportunity to collaborate.  A Board was formed and Keli Macintosh became the first official manager.

In 1997, Macintosh moved from the area; June Neal became TCCT’s first paid manager and added a regular schedule of classes, and fall, spring and summer MainStage productions. In the summer of 1999, the Missoula Children’s Theatre conducted a one-week intensive instructional program. This annual workshop continued until 2003 when the entire program became staffed locally. With demand exceeding all expectations, Luis Araquistain was hired in 2003 as a full-time director. Curriculum was expanded, as were out-reach program to area schools, creating broad opportunities, including classes for special needs students and multicultural programs.

In 2008, Mychelle Hopkins cam to the the Old Town Playhouse as the Educational Director of the TCCT. Hopkins holds her Master’s Degree from the prestigious Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon, England where she studied as a Fulbright Scholar. She has received critical acclaim as a director and actress both regionally and internationally. Her theatrical background is extensive with over thirty years of professional experience with The Barn Theatre in Augusta, Michigan, the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre, The Houston Shakespeare Festival, The Royal Shakespeare Company and The Athens Theatre Center, among others.

In the summer of 2010, TCCT took one more major step in its evolution when it changed its name to The Old Town Playhouse Young Company to better represent its composition of young people from age five to eighteen, and further cement its role as part of Old Town Playhouse.

Now a former TCCT student and current Young Company instructor, Melissa May, took the reins when Mychelle Hopkins retired in September of 2020. Melissa has been an local arts instructor and avid OTP volunteer for past 10 years, and looks forward to continuing the fantastic arts education program.

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