Youth in Arts Programming

"The future belongs to young people with an education and the imagination to create." President Barack Obama

Studies prove that young people involved in the arts perform better academically and show a greater involvement in community service.

Arts programs designed for young adults foster critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration and innovation. Young people who attend schools where the arts were integrated into classroom curriculum outperform their peers in math and reading who did not have an arts integrated curriculum.

Young people who participate in the Performing Arts (music, theatre, dance), tend to be more in touch with their emotions, able to verbalize what they are feeling and better equipped to deal with challenges as Adults later in life.

The Spreckels Performing Arts Center Youth in Arts Workshop provides a comprehensive experience for those young people who are interested in Theatre.  They are taught dance, voice, and acting techniques by top professionals from the Bay Area.

Youth In Arts Summer Workshop

Sleeping Beauty

Performances Friday August 11 & 18 at 7:00pm
Saturday August 12, 19 and Sunday August 13, 20 at 1:00pm

Our program is led by an award-winning team of professionals:

Denise Elia-Yen, is returning for her second year as Summer Workshop Director for Spreckels Theatre Company. She has been the drama teacher at Sonoma Country Day School, a K-8 private school in Santa Rosa, where she directs and choreographs plays and musicals, and teaches theater skills among drama, English, history and science classes. Additionally, she is the Summer Head Drama Instructor for Arts in Action, a camp held at Saint Mark’s School in San Rafael. Mrs. Elia-Yen has been an active professional actress and director on local stages including Spreckels Theater Company, and has won back-to-back San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards for Best Actress in a Musical for her portrayal of Elizabeth in Spreckels’ production of Mel Brooks’ musi- cal version of Young Frankenstein and as Annie in Spreckels’ production of Annie Get Your Gun. Her work also can be seen in films, television commercials, voiceovers and print. Denise Elia-Yen is a graduate of the Center for the Arts, S.U.N.Y. at Buffalo with a B.F.A. in Theater and a B.A. in Italian.

Michella Snider has been dancing since age three, beginning with her favorite style, Tap, and eventually expanding and learning many more forms. One day she hopes to become a Radio City Rockette, but until then loves dancing, teaching, and choreographing all around Sonoma County. She has been Spreckels Theatre Company’s Resident Choreographer for over three years where her work has been showcased in over fourteen musical productions, one of which, Young Frankenstein, enabled her to win Best Choreography 2013 from the San Francisco Bay Area Theater Critics Circle.

Lucas Sherman  musical direction credits include: Hair, Bonnie & Clyde, The Last Five Years, Next to Normal, RENT, Big Fish, Into The Woods, The Drowsy Chaperone, 13, Children of Eden, Assassins, The Great American Trailer Park Musical, I Love You Because, The Fantasticks, Seussical, Bye Bye Birdie, Hairspray, Peter and the Starcatcher, Kismet, Sweeney Todd, and 1776 among many others.  He has also played with the Grammy Award-winning Kitaro and worked with multiple Broadway performers including Martin Moran and Jerry Dixon.  He has performed at 6th Street Playhouse, SRT, Cinnabar, Spreckels, The Rep / Main Stage West, The Raven, The Blue Room in Chico, Wells Fargo Center for the Arts, Academy of Art University, and the historic Napa Valley Opera House.  He has prepared musical scores for several shows including the Texas Chainsaw Musical!

For more information about our program, contact the Spreckels Box Office at 707 588-3400. Box Office hours are Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 5pm.

Or contact, Denise Elia-Yen, Program Director, 707 588-3419 or email her at