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 films and videos via our video site, YC Web. Our theatre shows reach out to hundreds of attendees during performance weekends, and our online films and videos reach out to thousands worldwide all the way to the UK and Australia.
Our goals are:
To use creativity to introduce, encourage, or reinforce a biblical worldview (a biblical perspective and understanding of the world)
To present Bible-based solutions to current cultural issues, allowing audiences to evaluate or reexamine what they are seeing and hearing in today's confusing culture
To showcase outstanding original and exclusively Christian material through professional and innovative theatre
To use our online video site to reach a worldwide audience with unique and impactful films and videos
All material originates from director Matt Kramer, who founded You Connection in 2013/2014- a culmination of spiritual, creative, and production expertise spanning over twenty years. Matt is the visionary behind everything that happens with You Connection, from music and writing and production to the presentation of the Gospel. Prior to YC, Matt spent years working in professional video and television, including PBS, co-founding a performing arts company, and working in church ministry.
What We Are Not:
For under-18s and their families, we must emphasize that You Connection is NOT a youth theatre or a youth program. It is vitally important that young performers (and their families) understand this before joining. We have all ages in our cast, and all performers are compensated in some way, with our Resident Performers on a monthly payroll as professional artists-in-residence.
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.), though we are a Christian organization, we do not coddle performers and expect professional standards to be maintained at all times.
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 (we are blessed to 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 are paid part-time on a monthly basis and are required to participate in all YC productions throughout a season (summer to summer).
THE YC CAST allows actors to participate only in productions they are available for, providing more flexibility for performers who want to be involved in YC but may not be able to do it on a regular basis.
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 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, though Resident Performers may be involved in small video shoots throughout the season.)
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. Deadlines for productions are sent out, with YC Cast members confirming their commitment by certain dates. Actors are committed to a project once they confirm and are NOT ALLOWED to withdraw from a production after commitment is finalized.
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). Our actors trust that there will never be any swearing or inappropriate, sexual, or off-color elements in the scripts.
However, be aware that You Connection does present the Gospel truth in uncompromising ways (this is our staple), 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). See our Statement of Faith further below.
It is mandatory that actors remain committed to a production once they have confirmed their commitment to a project and have been given final production dates.
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.
NOTE: It is especially important for parents who are not as familiar with professional arts to understand you are not paying us, we are paying you (that is, your child), unlike acting schools and student programs. Furthermore, YC offers the unprecedented benefit of very limited rehearsal and commitment times compared to any other production house- you will not find a theatre in the world that allows you to be in a professional show with only two short weekends of rehearsals! Unprofessional behavior from parents will not be tolerated and we will dismiss the minor from the cast if a parent is not compliant with these guidelines.
Resident Performers are paid on a monthly basis, as it is officially a part-time staff position. The YC Cast is also compensated for productions. Comp amounts are set with Resident Performers at the time of hiring; comp amounts for the YC Cast will be communicated before a cast member commits to a project.
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 regardless of society's perspective on it. However, as long as these guidelines are being followed and there is no negative 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 unavoidable emergencies.
You Connection personnel are only responsible for performers while they are inside our facility. While we are located in a high-end neighborhood, we are also across from the Dart Rail Station; we expect families with minors to work out for themselves how they want to pick up and drop off, whether they want their child to walk in and out to the parking lot or whether the parent wants to come in and pick them up. We expect performers to be responsible for this at the end of rehearsals, shoots, or performances; YC personnel cannot monitor everyone once they are released and places the responsibility of coming and going on the performers and their families.
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 Catelyn Lawrence (Resident Performer/Assistant Artistic Director), Shelley Lawrence (production administrator), Jordan Schonhoff (funding/promotion 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; Natalie is Matt Kramer's sister); 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 their relations, 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!
We require e-signatures for all performers, Resident Performers and YC Cast (for performers under age 18, we only require a parent/legal guardian e-signature).
RELEASE AND CONSENT FOR VIDEO, PHOTO, AND AUDIO
I (We), the undersigned, grant You Connection, Inc., the perpetual, royalty-free right and license to:
Record my participation and appearance in video and audio (the Recordings) for You Connection, Inc.
Use my name, likeness, and voice in connection with these Recordings, which will be used only for You Connection, Inc., in strict accordance with its mission and purpose, in publications and productions, in print, electronically, or online.