About YETI

Bluff City Theater’s Youth Education Theater Initiative (YETI) is now in its eighth year of engaging children and teens in theater at many levels. We believe that all children benefit from the exercise of creative expression regardless of experience, background or natural talent. Theater arts help children overcome shyness and fear and encourage collaboration and friendships.

No Child is Turned Away

While it’s true that some children show remarkable ability for acting at an early age and may ultimately choose to pursue theater as a vocation, many others benefit from just experiencing the freedom and joy that comes with play-acting. We try to foster both and inclusion is a key tenet of our programs.

While some of our programs charge fees to offset costs, we are grateful for the support of local agencies who ensure that economic circumstances are no barrier to participation. Each year approximately one-third of our participants receive partial or full-scholarship support.

In particular, we acknowledge the invaluable support of the George Riedel Foundation which has been a bedrock financial supporter of YETI since the beginning.

YETI incorporates our Youth Mentorship Program, The BCT Academy, BCT Summer Camps for Younger Children and Artists in the Classroom.

While we have made every effort to maintain youth programs during the pandemic, not all programs are being offered at this time. Please check back with us regularly and monitor our Facebook page yeti@BCThannibalMO for the most up-to-date news.

Youth Mentorship

This is a free membership program for middle and high school students to learn and practice all aspects of producing their own show from choosing the theme and scripts to the final performance for an audience. Individually and together members must utilize the 4 C’s: Critical Thinking, Communication, Collaboration and Creativity. As members they have the opportunity to:

  • Meet and participate in workshops given by the professional actors, directors, and designers employed by Bluff City Theater
  • Volunteer as stage and costume crew for the Bluff City Theater professional productions
  • Attend all the Bluff City Theater shows free of charge
  • Attend other local theater performances
  • Tour local college theater programs
  • Become part of a theater improv team that practices regularly and performs for the community
  • Participate in community events like the Night of the Living Dead


The Youth Mentorship Program is a unique and valuable experience that builds confidence and can be applied to future work and creative endeavors. Talent or experience is not a prerequisite for participation in the Youth Mentorship Program. Commitment, creative thinking, a positive attitude, and the ability to work in a collaborative manner are.

BCT Academy

BCT Academy is a fee-based program that trains children and teens in a variety of acting skills including scenes, improvisation and musical performance. Employing professional mentors, the students meet weekly to learn and practice skills. BCT Academy is designed to supplement and support theatrical activity that may be going on in regional schools by improving the fundamental theater skills of youth.

Classes are held at the BCT Annex at 403 Broadway on Saturdays and are generally 6-10 weeks in duration. Financial assistance is available for participants if needed.

BCT Summer Camps

Each summer, Bluff City Theater holds two or three week-long day camps that combine outdoor activities with theater games. Camps are organized along age lines and are generally half-day in duration, weekdays. Each camp program ends with a theatrical presentation for family and friends.

Camps are led by our youth coordinator with the support of teen volunteers from our youth mentorship program.

BCT Summer Camps charge a fee but financial assistance is available if needed.

Artists in the Classroom

Artists in the Classroom combines a number of programs and resources designed to support teachers and encourage more theater in regional schools. Past programs have included performance seminars, role-playing seminars linked to social studies curriculum, school visits from theater professionals and classroom visits to theater performances.

Our youth coordinator welcomes requests from teachers to help implement ideas, improve learning or participation of kids in creative expression.