Youth Theater Speak 2017-2018



Saturday, July 14, 7:00 p.m.

Join the participants of this year's Youth Theater Speak for their final performance of thought-provoking improvisations. IMPORTANT: this year's group would like to gather information from the community as they prepare their performance. Please take a moment to answer these questions, developed by the participants. Answer some or all of the questions. Answers are submitted anonymously. Information collected will inform the performance developed by participants. Join us on July 14 to see the result! 

Are you between the ages of 14 and 18? Are you interested in immersing yourself in the study of theater while co-creating an original performance? Do you enjoy throwing yourself into the creative process with an invigorating group of your peers?

Youth Theater Speak, now in its third year, is changing formats. Beginning in October 2017, the YTS seminar will be a year-round program for high school freshman - seniors. Participants will meet one Sunday a month from 12:00 - 4:00 p.m. The seminar will culminate in August 2018 with a performance designed by participants.

The seminar trains participants to use awareness of themselves and their surroundings to deepen their capacity as actors. Through the course of the program, participants engage in intensive study of theater techniques and work together to create an original performance. Participants learn how to use theater to explore and highlight contemporary issues and communicate with their community.

 Photo by Sunset Ridge Photography

Photo by Sunset Ridge Photography

Participants are expected to bring a high level of commitment to the program, showing up fully to each session and willing to engage 100 percent in the creative process involved.

Tuition for the seminar is $200 per participant. A limited number of need-based scholarships are available. 

In addition to the seminar, NST has created the YTS Acting Troupe. The troupe is comprised of actors currently enrolled in the seminar and graduates of the seminar. The YTS Acting Troupe develops pop-up theater performances throughout the year.

 Photo by Sunset Ridge Photography

Photo by Sunset Ridge Photography

In order to maintain an intimate, high-quality experience, the program is limited to twelve participants. To apply, please download and complete this application or email Johannah at and we will send you an application.


Youth Theater Speak 2017-2018 is funded in part by a grant from the Maine Arts Commission, an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.


About the instructors: 

Johannah Blackman, Director

Johannah grew up in the theater and ran a small theater group for homeschoolers during her teen years. She experienced firsthand the incredible power that theater can have in the life of a teenager. Johannah holds a BA in Philosophy and a Masters in Counseling Psychology. After settling in Maine in her late twenties, Johannah stumbled upon New Surry Theatre and began acting in productions (Shelby in Steel Magnolias, Nancy in Oliver!, Marian in The Music Man, Luisa in The Fantasticks, Julie in Carousel, Sabrina in Sabrina Fair, Lizzie in The Rainmaker and Shirley in Shirley Valentine). Johannah has taken acting classes and studied directing with Bill Raiten and made her NST directorial debut with Dancing at Lughnasa. Johannah has over a decade of experience working with teens in camps, music programs, theater and outdoor education. Johannah currently serves as NST's Producing Director.

Nolan Ellsworth, Director Emeritus and Consultant

While he no longer lives in Blue Hill, Nolan is happy to still be involved in YTS. He serves as director emeritus and consultant and joins the YTS Acting Troupe to codirect pop-up performances whenever possible. Nolan graduated from Middlebury College in May 2017 with a major in Theater and English and is currently an education intern with Portland Stage Company in Portland, Maine.