PHOENIX: Valley Youth Theatre (VYT) has selected Mark Stoddard to be the next associate artistic director. He will step into the role in August and ultimately transition to the theatre’s artistic director position when Bobb Cooper, VYT’s producing artistic director of over 27 years, retires from his position.
Stoddard’s hiring is part of a planned strategic restructuring of the theatre by the staff and the board of directors to ensure the nonprofit’s long-term viability. At the time of his retirement, Cooper will transition to an advisory role, focusing on securing a permanent home for Valley Youth Theatre and fostering an endowment to make sure VYT continues to be an impactful organization.
“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with such a talented artist and help him springboard the future of Valley Youth Theatre,” said Cooper in a statement.
Stoddard joins VYT with over 20 years of experience in theatre education, most recently as the theatre director and instructor at Xavier College Preparatory. He received his bachelor of arts in theatre from Susquehanna University and received a Master’s degree in educational theatre from New York University. As an educator, Mark has taught and mentored thousands of students at various educational organizations including Paradise Valley Community College, Glendale Community College, and Dream City Arts.
“I love seeing young people develop their self-confidence, critical thinking skills, imagination, creativity, social empathy, and sense of belonging through theatre,” said Stoddard in a statement. “I am excited to join the amazing Valley Youth Theatre team to create magical moments for young Arizona artists and audiences.”
Established in 1989, Valley Youth Theatre is a nonprofit community theatre located in Phoenix. VYT seeks to inspire young people to reach their full potential through a variety of performing arts opportunities, including six annual mainstage performances, eight-week seasonal performing arts classes, as well as spring break and summer camps. VYT’s ongoing community programs include Literacy and the Arts, Sponsor-a-Seat, the Nigel Ross Scholarship Fund, and their annual fundraising event, VYTal Affair.
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