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Egyptian Theatre youth program growing thanks to $900,000 gift

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KPCW Radio
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An anonymous local supporter of the theatrical arts has changed the face of Park City’s Egyptian Theater’s youth education programs and productions with an enormous financial gift.

The show is going to go on, and then some.

Youth Theatre Director Jamie Wilcox announced Tuesday that the theater has received a gift of $300,000 per year for three years. The donation comes from someone who doesn’t want to be identified but who is committed to expanding the theater’s youth programs and making them free for all children.

The theater will match the donation, and Wilcox said that while the youth program has always had a robust scholarship component, the gift will open things up and build on what’s already in place.

“We are overjoyed obviously. We're going to be reaching even more kids than we normally do.”

Wilcox has headed the program for 11 years. She oversees seasonal programs, summer camps, after-school elementary school classes and about four productions a year. All together, the youth program involves well over 1,000 kids a year aged five to 18.

Classes are for performing and non-performing theater arts. While productions involve typical audition processes, classes are also offered to teach technical backstage skills that involve lights, sound and set design.

The variety confer all sort of lessons and life skills, Wilcox said.

“Theater is a team sport and theater is a craft that can be learned," she said. "So we have a lot of classes that don't end with the performance on stage because there's so much to be learned in a theatre arts classroom - there's so much self confidence that comes so much teamwork, so many soft and hard skills that come that are kind of inherent.”

The youth theatre program began in the 1970s and started out being run mostly by parents. Now, after she worked nine years as the only full-time employee, she’s one of six full-time employees and a group of part time instructors.

In a partnership with the Youth Sports Alliance, the program is also moving into three Wasatch County schools.

To register kids for fall classes, click this link.

Michelle, who joined KPCW in 2021, arrived in Utah in 2018 by way of Massachusetts, where the skiing was icy and the mosquitoes formidable. A former daily newspaper reporter and editor (at the Visalia Times-Delta in CA) and columnist (at The Cohasset Mariner in MA), Michelle has been a writer and editor for decades. She holds a journalism degree from CSU Fresno and has worked as a journalist, freelance writer and web content creator, reporting extensively on education and youth along with general assignment and breaking news.