No matter a youth’s challenges, whether non verbal, autistic, severe anxiety, intellectual or physical, everyone can be an integral part of the live performances.
Bluffton Youth Theatre was founded in 2015 by Cynthia and Gregory Ford with the help of their daughter Jennifer. Since moving to South Carolina from New York in 2009, Cynthia has found ways to use her performing arts background. She started working with Main Street Youth Theatre on Hilton Head Island, but soon realized that Bluffton needed a performing arts center of its own. With over 40 years of theatre experience in New York, Cynthia set out to bring a youth theatre to Bluffton. It all began during the summer of 2015, in her home, with a cast of 15 children. After only a couple weeks, they performed “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe”, a musical Cynthia wrote based on C.S. Lewis’ book. Many were amazed at what was accomplished in such a short period of time.When asked how the students could perform such a feat, Cynthia said, “When given the challenge, I find that young people always rise to the occasion.” Since then, Bluffton Youth Theatre has tripled in size, staged several musicals, held professional acting classes, built floats to participate in the Bluffton Christmas Parade, and performed a Mystery Dinner Theatre. Hundreds of students have been positively impacted by the Ford’s dream that has become a reality. Thousands have witnessed youth of all ages accepting each other, no matter their differences, who come together to perform what has been deemed “truly amazing”. Positive reviews has put BYT at a level that has even caught the eye of advocates across the nation who believe in BYT’s mission and have willingly lent their support. “We are truly thankful for all who volunteer and continue to encourage us,” says the Fords. “Our reward is seeing so many lives changed.”
Goals At Bluffton Youth Theatre
To be an all inclusive theatre program by giving the same opportunity to all youth, no matter their physical or mental challenges.
To be a safe environment where youth can meet others with the same interest and learn to encourage one another
To teach youth to work together with everyone, no matter if they may be seen as "different"
To teach youth to be overcomers and rise above any obstacle
To teach youth to clearly and passionately speak out and speak up
To teach youth to be gracious and forgiving to others as well as themselves
To show the world that youth, when facing challenges, can meet those challenges, go above and beyond. and be responsible
To teach that dependency on God is not a weakness, but an asset
How We Meet Our Goals
By choosing “leads” who are truly leaders and not egotistical braggarts.
By believing that equal importance should be given to training a child to have good character, both onstage and off.
By adults modeling behavior that reflects those that Christ would advocate – respect, humility, unfailing love and forgiveness.
By giving kids space to be kids, using every opportunity to teach them without belittling them or breaking their spirits.
By training them, through love and respect, to be excellent actors, actresses, singers, and dancers.