What We Are:
You Connection is a professional Christian theatre and media organization, with the mission of using the creative arts to preach the uncompromising message of the Gospel. We produce theatre shows for the DFW metroplex, as well as full-length films and videos via our video site, YC Web, and other media outlets; our media literally reaches out to viewers all over the world, from the US to the UK to Australia.
YC is the only professional Christian theatre in DFW, and we want to continue to be known as such, premiering some of the finest and most original works that truly make an impact on audiences.
While YC productions are a team effort, all material originates from Founder/Director Matt Kramer, a culmination of spiritual, creative, and production expertise spanning over twenty years. His vision for You Connection, which began over a decade before YC’s inception in 2014, is the driving force of the whole thing- a vision for using the arts as a viable means of communicating the Gospel. His desire for strong theatrics that are comparable in style to Broadway or Hollywood, creative ideas that are highly innovative, and hardcore messages that proclaim the truth of Christ while defaming the unbiblical aspects of modern culture, makes You Connection a truly unique ministry.
What We Are Not:
Contrary to a popular misconception, You Connection is NOT a youth theatre or a youth program. It is vitally important that performers understand this before joining, as it has caused confusion in the past. We do utilize a lot of young people (teens, young adults, kids), since we enjoy using the exceptional (and often underused) skills of young actors. But we are utilizing young performers in a strictly professional capacity. And we are ALWAYS eager to have adults join our cast (we just don’t get as many of them auditioning for us, again, possibly due to the frequent misconception).
While we love and encourage the friendships within the YC cast, our main goal is reaching out to the audience, which includes all ages- kids, teens, young adults, older adults (our theatre shows now mostly reach teens and adults, while our media has a broader family appeal).
- We believe in reflecting Christianity through excellence and professionalism, and because part of our reputation depends on being a professional theatre and media company, that is what viewers and patrons expect to see.
- While we strive to keep a relaxed, friendly environment, and we are blessed to have great relationships and great rapport among the cast, remember it is a professional friendly atmosphere.
- YC is an elite group; very little direction is given to performers unless specifically needed- you are expected to be confident in your skills and to know what you are doing onstage and off.
- We expect high standards of performance (knowing your lines, knowing your music, remaining focused, etc.), and tempers will rise (particularly from director Matt Kramer) if a performer is not properly keeping up or being uncooperative; though we are a Christian organization, we do not coddle performers and expect professionalism during strict or stressful moments (and know that we are all humans working together for a common goal).
Joining the YC Cast
We do not audition actors for individual productions only; if you are accepted, you are essentially joining a troupe, so we are looking for performers who want to be a part of You Connection for at least a season, whether you are joining as a Resident Performer or the YC Cast (though we have many who have been with us for years).
For your first two productions, keep in mind we are still observing you to see what your strengths are, your performing style, your commitment to dates and schedules, etc. If there are too many problems during these first two productions you may be dismissed from continuing with us, since you need to prove to us that you are serious about committing to You Connection.
Resident Performers & YC Cast
RESIDENT PERFORMERS will be paid part-time on a monthly basis and will participate in all YC productions throughout a season, helping to keep our many upcoming theatre and video projects running smoothly. Actors who are already in the YC Cast are welcome to be considered for Resident Performers. We are looking for a VARIETY of ages to make up the Resident Performers, from youth to adult.
THE YC CAST will be a unified version of our past Core and Seasonal divisions, and will continue to operate as before, with actors being able to select which productions they are available for.
These new divisions will be officially implemented in AUGUST (the start of our 2021-2022 season).
- Rehearsals are generally the two weekends before the performance weekend:
- First Weekend: Fri evening, Sat, Sun afternoon, Mon evening (may not be required for all dates; this is the only weekend where scheduling can be flexible)
- Second Weekend: Sat, Sun afternoon (second weekend is now mandatory for all actors, no exceptions)
- Third Weekend (all mandatory, of course): Thurs eve dress, Fri – Sun shows
Because our theatre rehearsals are so short and streamlined, it is important that YC actors are able to commit to these weekends.
Participation in film shoots is less frequent and more flexible, since filming only involves the performers needed for certain scenes or at certain locations. (We are currently doing most of our film and video work in the summer months.)
Filming dates for an individual performer may only range from 1-5 dates total. So unlike theatre shows, film shoots can be scheduled more around the actors’ availability, though commitment is, of course, still required.
Committing to a Production
Resident Performers will be a part of every project throughout a season, as they are being paid monthly to do so. The regular YC cast has the opportunity to select which productions they are available for; sign-up is essentially the same as "auditioning" for that production, so be sure to only sign up for productions you plan to participate in (you are not officially committed to the production until you have confirmed your involvement and are given final dates, as stated below). Sign up on the Sign-Up Page.
When you commit to a production, the script is finalized to accommodate that specific cast. This is a rare occurrence in the arts world where you are given a script tailored specifically to you and the rest of the cast (and if you are in a play that we are showcasing for the first time, then you’re getting to originate a character that others will have to imitate when we perform the play again, since all our material is designed to be a part of an ongoing repertoire).
We do not do auditions for productions; actors are simply assigned to parts, based on who fits which character, skill set, vocal quality, availability, etc. Because the script is finalized after everyone commits, we can’t send the script out beforehand (though we now send a synopsis of the story, theme, and biblical aspects so you know what you’re committing to). Obviously our actors trust that there will never be any swearing or inappropriate elements in the scripts.
Be aware that You Connection does present the Gospel truth in extreme ways, and we often satirize common secular beliefs, so be sure to look at the script and songs as a whole message (a song sung by a selfish, worldly character will be. . .selfish and worldly, but we need that moment to contrast the Gospel moment, and so forth).
Actors are expected to remain committed to a production once they have confirmed their commitment to a project and have been given final production dates.
Starting the week before rehearsals (or filming, if it is a film shoot) it is mandatory that actors remain committed to the production, no exceptions.
Because we don't have ensembles, we are rarely, if ever, able to do understudies, so commitment to a project, especially a theatre performance, is taken very seriously.
Parents of under 18’s
For actors under 18, we are essentially working with the actors’ parents for scheduling and other details; it is therefore equally important for the parent to comply with these guidelines as well.
It is also important that parents of minors understand that this is a workplace; your child is coming to a job, not a classroom or an activity. Like any job, they are expected to do what they are being compensated for. The world of professional arts is very adult, and minors are expected to be professionals no matter their age.
Resident Performers will be paid on a monthly basis, as it is officially a part-time staff position. The YC Cast is also compensated for productions, though amounts may change from time to time depending on the budget, age of performers, and so on.
This ensures that we are attracting a higher caliber of actor. It is also meant to ensure that we will get a higher level of commitment, since we are paying for the services of these actors.
We do not require a statement of faith from actors, meaning you do not have to be a born-again Christian to be in the cast. However, all YC actors are expected to respect and be supportive of our Christian principles and mission for as long as you are in the cast, and especially when you are participating in a production.
We expect professional behavior at all times while at You Connection; no swearing, inappropriate jokes or conversations, etc.
Guys and girls are expected to behave decently and respectfully toward one another. We want You Connection to be a safe and friendly environment.
Because YC does not require a statement of faith for actors, we cannot therefore tell a performer what to do in his or her personal life, regarding the current controversial issue of gender identity. Please note that YC does believe what the Bible says about this issue and we do believe that the Word of God is unchanging in this issue (Romans, 1 Corinthians, Leviticus, etc.) You do not have to personally agree with that, but you will have to respect our stance as long as you are a part of the cast; as a Christian organization we are required by Scripture to take this position. However, as long as these guidelines are being followed and there is no conflict of interest, YC will not interfere with a performer's personal life.
Our Statement of Faith
We adhere to the traditional Christian faith, according to the Bible and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You can see our complete Core Values at www.youconnection.org/core-values
In all these things, we cannot anticipate unexpected or unavoidable conflicts that may allow for a rare exception to any of these guidelines, such as serious illness or an unavoidable emergency (or in the rare instance of severely inclement weather). HOWEVER, please note, once you have committed to a YC production, we cannot consider as acceptable exceptions such things as family affairs and activities, conflicts from other gigs or programs, and even minor illness such as a head cold or allergies (in which we subscribe to the old “the show must go on” attitude).
You are expected to work out your schedule prior to committing, and if there is a possibility of changes to your schedule, please consider waiting until the next production to commit. We simply have too many performers to be able to do personal favors once a production is set, excepting serious or unavoidable emergencies.
How We Operate
You Connection is a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation; we do not make a dime off of our shows, films, videos, websites, but are entirely supported by donations. Matt Kramer is Founder and Director, as well as producer of all YC scripts and music. Prior to YC, Matt spent twenty plus years in the professional world of performing arts, video production, book publishing, and church ministry.
We have a part-time team which presently includes Shelley Lawrence (program administrator), Catelyn Lawrence (production/promotions assistant), Jordan Schonhoff (funding administrator), and Debby Kramer (event coordinator). Members of the Kramer family also actively volunteer for YC, including Natalie Kramer (a professional ballerina, ballet instructor, choreographer, and director); Paul and Debby Kramer have been key donors since the beginning of YC and have been active volunteers/participants in the arts and performance community for decades.
And, of course, we have our YC cast and families who contribute their time, talents, and so much more, breathing life into everything we do and helping us by spreading the word, bringing in new attendees, and being so supportive of the You Connection mission!
By reading these guidelines and participating in You Connection, it is understood that all performers and families agree with and will endeavor to comply with these guidelines to the best of their abilities. Starting with the 2021-2022 season we will require e-signatures for these guidelines.